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Laura Mutsko

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It’s that Time, Again – Medicare Open Enrollment: Make the Most of It

It’s that Time, Again – Medicare Open Enrollment: Make the Most of It

You signed up for Medicare when you turned 65. Like most people, you probably breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that your health insurance decisions were settled.

But wait — not so fast. Didn’t any- one tell you about Medicare Open Enrollment?

Confused? So is everyone else.

Never heard about Medicare’s Open Enrollment period? If you are over age 65, you’ll soon find your mailbox jammed with official-looking envelopes from insurance companies competing for your attention. While it might be bewildering, it can also mean good news for you.

Many people find their initial enrollment in Medicare to be overwhelming. They often make mistakes. They may pick a plan that doesn’t cover the doctors or hospitals they prefer. Maybe there is a change in health or they chose a prescription drug plan that doesn’t cover their prescriptions. For whatever reason, they find they are locked into insurance coverage that simply does not fit their needs.

Medicare’s open enrollment is a chance for a do-over. It is an annual opportunity to take a close look at all the other Medicare health insurance options. It’s your chance to make changes that benefit you. Medicare’s open enrollment period begins every year on Oct. 15 and closes Dec. 7. During this period, people who have previously signed up for Medicare can:

• change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan

• change from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare

• switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan

• join a Medicare prescription drug plan

• switch from one Medicare prescription drug plan to a different Medicare prescription drug plan

• drop Medicare prescription drug coverage completely

Any changes made during this open enrollment take effect Jan. 1 of the following year.

WHERE TO BEGIN

Those covered by a Medicare Advantage plan or Prescription Drug plan will receive an Annual Notice of Change from their insurer outlining changes to their plan for the following year.

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