Medicare Open Enrollment: 4 Steps to Take Before Dec. 7

Will your Medicare Part D plan still cover your prescription drugs in 2019? Have the costs for those drugs increased? Are you wondering whether a private health insurance plan will meet your needs better than Original Medicare?

If you are considering changes to your Medicare plans, now is the time to do it. Medicare’s annual open enrollment started this month and will end Dec. 7.  And even if you are satisfied with your picks, I’d recommend that you check into any changes to your coverage and see whether another provider offers better. It could end up saving you money.

What Can You Do During Open Enrollment?

Open enrollment offers you the opportunity to:

  • Switch from Original Medicare (Parts A and B) to Medicare Advantage (Part C)

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another or to Original Medicare

  • Switch from one Part D prescription drug plan to another

What Should You Do During Open Enrollment?

Your goal is to ensure that you have the coverage you need for the coming year at a cost that you can afford. Here are four steps to help you achieve your goal:

  1. Review your current coverage. Read through the “Annual Notice of Change” or “Evidence of Coverage” that your Medicare plans have sent you. These materials will discuss any changes for 2019.

  2. Evaluate your health care needs. Consider your current state of health and any changes to your care that you anticipate.

  3. Research your options. You can use Medicare’s Plan Finder to determine your options for 2019. You’ll be able to compare various plans’ coverage, premiums, and copayments. Make sure to verify that your doctor is included in any plan that you are considering by calling your doctor’s office or the insurer.

  4. Make your picks. If you’ve decided to keep your current coverage, you won’t have to do anything. Your plans will auto-enroll. To make a change, you can use the Plan Finder or call (800) 633-4227. If you’re having trouble deciding, you can contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program for personalized counseling.

This is one of the busiest times of the year for many people, and researching your Medicare options may not be a task you want to take on. But by taking a little time now to review your options, you may be able to get a better deal, can help prevent expensive surprises later, and can feel confident that you have the right coverage for the year ahead.