Even if you are happy with your Medicare coverage, you should re-evaluate your options every year during the open enrollment period (Oct 15 to Dec 7). The reason is that there may be a better option, or your current plan may be changing next year.
Your prescription drug plan (Part D) can change completely, including changes to:
- your monthly premium, annual deductible, out-of-pocket co-pays
- the drugs that are covered
- the pharmacies that are covered
- and more complex questions such as whether certain drugs are covered in the Coverage Gap (“donut hole”)
If you do not have Part D coverage, you can sign up during this period.
For folks with a Medicare Advantage plan (rather than a Medicare Supplement, Medigap plan), your plan may also change drastically:
- the monthly premium (even those plans that don’t currently charge a premium)
- out-of-pocket co-pays and co-insurance
- which doctors are covered
Start by reviewing the information sent to you by your current insurance providers about changes that they are making to your plan. You can then review alternatives at the Medicare website: www.Medicare.gov/Find-a-plan
You can switch plans by calling 1-800-MEDICARE, or online at www.Medicare.gov, or contacting the new plan. By enrolling in a new plan you are automatically unenrolled from your current plan. Any changes take effect January 1st.
Note: Open Enrollment is only for folks already on Medicare. We strongly urge everyone who will be turning 65 to sign up as soon as possible. If you don’t, you will have to wait for the General Enrollment Period (Jan 1 to Mar 31), which then takes effect July 1st, and will often subject you to a penalty.