Open enrollment for Medicare is a very important time for adults age 65 and older. This period between October and December is the time when seniors can enroll or make changes to insurance policies through Medicare.
It is imperative that Medicare subscribers use this time wisely, because failing to take action during open enrollment can result in inadequate coverage and even penalties. Here are some reasons why you should not miss the Medicare open enrollment period.
The main reason seniors should not miss open enrollment is to avoid being stuck with a Medicare plan that may not be comprehensive enough. If you miss open enrollment, you will not have the opportunity to make changes to your insurance plan for a full year.
The open enrollment period runs from October 15 to December 7. During this period, subscribers should take the time to review their current insurance policy, research options and plans to determine if there are cost-saving benefits to changing plans, and decide if higher or lower levels of coverage will be needed for the upcoming year.
Changes that can be made during open enrollment include: changes to Part D (prescription drug coverage), changes to Part C, Medigap, and supplemental plans. You can also enroll in a new supplemental plan during this time. Once the enrollment period ends, no changes can be made to your health insurance policy without a qualifying event.
Not only are you able to make changes to your health insurance coverage, but Medicare changes occur from year to year as well. Therefore, it is important to review your coverage whether you plan on making changes or not. This is because your current policy may have been adequate for this year, but changes made by Medicare could affect your coverage and result in a need for an additional supplemental plan. Medicare Advantage plans are going to be changing for the upcoming calendar year, and enrollees should be aware of those changes before the enrollment period ends.
Per PBS reporting, Medicare Advantage plans will be expanding their coverage in the upcoming years. These plans will now cover some non-medical expenses and there may be new plans offered. Certain plans will now cover transportation to doctor’s appointments, safety equipment, and even certain dietary needs. However, not all Advantage plan providers will be enacting these changes.
Medicare Advantage subscribers will need to pay close attention to whether or not these changes affect their current plan. Subscribers may benefit from changing to a different Medicare Advantage plan or provider during the open enrollment period. In order to determine if your policy will be affected by these changes, you should check with your provider. Insurance companies are also required to notify subscribers of any changes, so keep an eye out for policy information sent by your provider.
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