Open enrollment for Medicare runs between October 15 and December 7. This is when beneficiaries can switch plans for the upcoming year. Choosing a plan is an important task, and it shouldn’t be done before you answer these 10 questions.
- Has your current plan changed? Pay attention to the Annual Notice of Change letter you received to see if the costs or coverages associated with your current plan have changed.
- What plans are available in your area? There’s a lot more out there than Original Medicare. Even if you’ve looked at Medicare Advantage plans in previous years, you’ll want to do so again this year. According to Kaiser Family Foundation, there will be 2,734 Medicare Advantage plans in the United States in 2019, which is 417 more than what was available for 2018.
- How much will you pay out of pocket? CMS has announced the 2019 Medicare Parts A and B costs. Compare how much you expect to pay under Original Medicare and different Medicare Advantage plans. Be sure to look at anticipated copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket caps, not just premiums.
- How much do you expect to pay for prescriptions? As you probably know all too well, prescription drugs can be expensive, even with insurance. See how much you’ll pay for you prescriptions under different plans.
- Do you need dental care? Dental care is not generally covered under Original Medicare, but some Medicare Advantage plans offer dental benefits.
- Do you need vision care? Just like dental care, this is a benefit that some Medicare Advantage plans offer, but Original Medicare does not.
- Do you need long-term care? Starting in 2019, some Medicare Advantage plans will begin offering select long-term care benefits. If this is something you think you might need, pay close attention to the new offerings.
- What other services do you need that aren’t covered under Original Medicare? Think about other treatments you may need, such as acupuncture and hearing care. See if a Medicare Advantage plan in your area offers coverage.
- Do you qualify for a Special Needs Plan? If you have a chronic condition, you may be eligible to enroll in a Special Needs Plan designed to treat your condition.
- Will you be able to see your preferred providers? If a plan uses network providers, make sure you’re happy with the network.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? There’s a lot to consider before selecting a plan, and the decision you make will have a major impact on your health care and expenses for the following year. The good news is that you don’t have to figure it all out on your own. View Medicare seminars in your area.