Be sure to re-evaluate your plan during Medicare Open Enrollment

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

open enrollmentMedicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7. This is a time for individuals on Medicare to re-evaluate drug and health insurance coverage options to ensure they are still enrolled in the best plan to meet their needs. If you use the open enrollment period to choose a new Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, that new coverage will begin on January 1.

During this time

  • Anyone who has (or is signing up for) Medicare Parts A or B can join or drop a Part D prescription drug plan.
  • Anyone with Original Medicare (Parts A & B) can switch to a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Anyone with Medicare Advantage can drop it and switch back to just Original Medicare (Parts A & B).
  • Anyone with Medicare Advantage can switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Anyone with a Part D prescription drug plan can switch to a new Part D prescription drug plan.

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Medicare Advantage & Part D cost information

Why should I consider re-evaluating my current Medicare coverage during open enrollment?

Unfortunately, choosing health insurance is no longer a one-time decision for most Medicare beneficiaries. Each year, insurance companies can make changes to Medicare plans that can impact how much you pay out-of-pocket—like the monthly premiums, deductibles, drug costs, and provider or pharmacy “networks.” A network is a list of doctors, hospitals, or pharmacies that negotiate prices with insurance companies. They can also make changes to your plan’s “formulary” (list of covered drugs). Given these yearly changes, it is a good idea to re-evaluate your current Medicare plan each year to make sure it still meets your needs. Below are some additional benefits of re-evaluating your coverage during Open Enrollment:

  1. You can switch to better prescription drug coverage. Using Open Enrollment to switch your drug coverage—or add drug coverage for the first time—can make crucial medications that you need less expensive. It can also ensure that your drug plan still covers the drugs you need (as your prescriptions may not be included on your plan’s formulary for next year).
  2. You can save money and keep your doctor in-network. Switching your Medicare Advantage or Part D plan can potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year—especially if your current plan’s out-of-pocket costs will increase next year. Research shows that the average consumer can save $300 or more annually if they review their Part D coverage. One way to lower your medical costs is to check that your current doctors, hospital, and pharmacy are “in-network” with whatever Medicare Advantage or Part D plan you choose. If your insurance company has changed your plan’s provider or pharmacy network for next year (and your doctor or other resources will no longer be included), you can use Open Enrollment to switch to a plan that will include your current doctors, hospital and/or pharmacy in-network, thereby lowering your medical costs.
  3. You can find a higher quality plan. Finally, check the quality of your plan using the Medicare 5-star ratings system. Plans with a 5-star rating are considered high quality and those with fewer than 3 stars are considered poor quality. If your current plan is ranked as less than a 3, consider using Open Enrollment to switch to a higher rated plan.

Contact Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP)

The Ohio Department of Insurance provides Medicare beneficiaries with free, objective health insurance information and one-on-one counseling through its Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program (OSHIIP).
 
OSHIIP’s speaker’s bureau, hotline experts and trained volunteers educate consumers about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D), Medicare Advantage options, Medicaid, Medicare supplement insurance, long-term care insurance and other health insurance matters.

Toll Free Number: 800-686-1578
Fax Number: 614-752-0740
Email: oshiipmail@insurance.ohio.gov

 

Information from My Medicare Matters National Council on Aging and Ohio Department of Insurance