The Medicare open enrollment is an annual period that starts from October 15 and runs through December 7. Seniors eligible for Medicare and enrolled in this plan can re-evaluate their Medicare coverage during this time and can even compare Medicare plans available on the market. After re-evaluating the plan, if seniors find a plan that better fits their needs, then they can drop or add a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. Seniors should keep in mind that they cannot use this open enrollment period to enroll in Part A or Part B for the first time.
During the Open Enrollment Period, Seniors can Accomplish the Following Tasks:
- Seniors having Medicare Parts A or B can join or drop a Part D Prescription drug plan.
- Any senior with Original Medicare can switch to a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Seniors having a Medicare Advantage plan can drop it and switch back to the Original Medicare plan.
- Seniors having a Medicare Advantage plan can switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan.
- Anyone having a Part D prescription drug plan can enroll in a new Part D prescription drug plan.
Why Re-evaluating Current Medicare Coverage is Essential during Open Enrollment
Selecting and choosing health insurance plan no more remains a one-time decision for people enrolled in Medicare plans. Each year health insurance companies make changes to Medicare plans that impact the amount which beneficiaries are required to pay out-of-pocket like monthly premiums, drug costs, deductibles, and healthcare provider networks or pharmacy networks. Health insurance companies can also make changes in their plan’s formulary, which is a list of covered drugs. Therefore, considering all these changes, it is always a better idea for the beneficiaries to make sure that their Medicare plan still caters to their needs. Some of the other benefits of re-evaluating Medicare coverage during open enrollment include:
Switch to Better Prescription Drug Coverage – Medicare open enrollment period can be used by the beneficiaries to either switch their drug coverage or add drug coverage for the first time. Re-evaluation will also make sure that their plans still cover the drugs they need. If the plan’s formulary changes and their drugs are no more included, then they can switch to plan that include their drugs.
Switch Medicare Advantage or Part D – Medicare beneficiaries can switch to Medicare Advantage or Part D plan to save their good amount of money, especially if their current plan’s out-of-pocket costs are going to rise in the coming year. People can reduce their medical costs by checking that their current doctors, hospitals, and pharmacy are in-network in their chosen Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. If the insurance company has changed the plan’s healthcare provider or pharmacy network for the next year, then beneficiaries can use the open enrollment period to switch to a plan that includes their doctors, hospitals, and pharmacy in-network that further lower their medical costs.
Find a Better Quality Plan – Medicare enrollees can check the quality of their plan using the Medicare 5-star rating system. If the Medicare plan in which they are enrolled has less than 3-stars, then plans are considered to be of poor quality. Therefore, if their current plan has less than a 3-star rating, then they can switch to a higher rated plan during the open enrollment period.