Open enrollment for Medicare begins soon. However, seven out of 10 Medicare beneficiaries don’t think they compare their Medicare plans during this time, according to a 2021 analysis by KFF, a non-profit health policy organization.
This is not a good thing, as Medicare Advantage plans, similar to private insurance you may have received through your employer, change year after year. Your doctor may have been removed from your network, or your prescription drug prices might have increased. Original Medicare beneficiaries should also compare their Part D prescription drug coverage.
Here are some tips to help you switch Medicare plans.
You can change your coverage if you have a Medicare policy. Medicare open enrollment is available from October 15 through December 7 this year. You can change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage or vice versa. Or enroll in or modify Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.
Medicare Advantage members can use Medicare Advantage open enrollment between January 1 and March 31 to switch plans, return to Original Medicare, or sign up for a Medicare Part D prescription plan.
Prescription medications: Understand how your current plan will cover them in 2023 and whether a cheaper plan is available.
Also read When Is It Time to Update a Resume?
Scott Maibor, a Boston-based Medicare adviser, said it could be as easy as entering your drugs into Medicare.gov. “You should verify that you are on the right plan, that it’s recommended for me, and that there are savings.
Part D prescription drug plans can change every year, whether you have Original Medicare coverage or a Medicare Advantage plan. It is possible that one of your prescriptions may be more expensive in 2023 or that your plan won’t cover it. You may also have a new prescription, and a plan can offer you a lower price.
Make sure to check your preferred pharmacies. Karen Schechter, assistant professor at Maryville University’s health care management and health policy programs, said, “It’s often not just a question of cost sometimes. It’s also a matter if it’s a matter of location.” “If I need to refill my prescription once per month, then I might not want to travel to a faraway place.”
Once you turn 65 and have Medicare Part B, you are eligible for Medicare Supplement Insurance. You can only open up to six months of Medigap policy purchasing, regardless of your health status. You may not be eligible for a Medigap policy after that period, or it might cost you more.
Medigap covers many of the out-of-pocket costs associated with Original Medicare. You may be able to save significant money if you have a chronic or serious health condition. Many people switch to Medicare Advantage plans in open enrollment without realizing that they may not be able later to switch back to Medigap.
“Our clients are sitting in their homes, they see these ads on TV talking about free gym memberships, zero premiums, and they make the changes,” stated Emily Gang, owner, and CEO of The Medicare Coach. “They see that they have made a mistake early in the year and realize it very quickly. We can’t make them right again.”
You will need your Medicare number and the date you started Part A or Part B coverage to sign up for a plan. All of this information can be found on your Medicare card.
While you may be able online to sign up, it is possible that you will need to call a few times.
You’ll automatically be removed from your old plan if you switch from one Medicare Advantage plan. Your benefits will be transferred from Medicare if you switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage. You will need to unenroll from any Part D plans you may have. Your old Part D coverage will be canceled if you switch plans. Do nothing if you are not happy with your current plan. Your coverage will automatically renew.
If you plan on switching from Medicare Advantage or Original Medicare, you should consider looking into MedicareConsumer.com to review plans available to you in your state and compare rate quotes from several top-rated insurers. You can also call your plan provider to cancel. Sign up for prescription drug coverage (Part D) to avoid a penalty.