Medicare Open Enrollment is the time of the year when you can change your Medicare coverage. If you want to get more out of your Medicare Plan and pay less, then you should pay attention to Medicare Open Enrollment. During Open Enrollment, you might be able to lower your premiums or get extra benefits by switching to a different plan. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, approximately 12 million seniors received savings by switching to a new plan.
When is Medicare Open Enrollment?
Medicare Open Enrollment begins in the fall for the following year. For 2019, Medicare Open Enrollment is from October 15th through December 7th. Changes that you make to your Medicare will take effect on January 1st, 2019.
What Types Of Changes Can I Make During Open Enrollment?
During Open Enrollment, you can make the following changes to your Medicare:
Apply for Medicare Part D Prescription Coverage
Switch your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan
Join a new Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)
Switch between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage (Part C)
What Are The Different Types Of Medicare Plans Available During Open Enrollment?
During Medicare Open Enrollment, you can enroll in Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D) as long as you have Medicare Part A and Part B. For more information about the different types of Medicare, check out this page.
Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)
Medicare Advantage Plans are offered by private insurance companies. Medicare pays these private health insurance companies to cover your Medicare benefits. They offer the same benefits as original Medicare and will provide all of your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage. One advantage to these plans is that they may also include vision, dental and hearing coverage, which isn’t offered by original Medicare plans.
Who Is Eligible To Enroll In A Medicare Advantage Plan?
Medicare Advantage Plans are available to 99 percent of people with original Medicare. However, to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Also, you cannot have end-stage renal disease. Also, you must live in the plan’s service area. Not all Medicare Advantage Plans are available in all areas.
Are Medicare Advantage Plans The Same As Medigap Coverage?
Medicare Advantage Plans are not the same as a Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap coverage). Medicare Supplemental Insurance helps pay the costs that original Medicare doesn’t pay, such as the co-insurance and deductibles. Most people enroll in Medicare Supplemental Insurance right after becoming eligible, which is when they turn 65. After that time, it might not be possible to enroll in Medigap coverage. However, you can still enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans during Medicare Open Enrollment each fall as long as you have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B. Medicare Advantage Plans may cover more than original Medicare.
Medicare Prescription Plans (Part D)
Original Medicare does not cover prescription medications. However, most Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) cover drugs. So, if you are switching from a Medicare Advantage Plan to original Medicare, you will lose prescription drug coverage unless you also enroll in a Medicare Part D Plan. These plans cover prescription medications.
What If I Like My Current Medicare Plan?
You should still pay attention to Medicare Open Enrollment periods — even if you are satisfied with your current Medicare Plan. Your plan may change from one year to the next. It might even be discontinued. You will receive a notice from your Medicare plan about changes for the following year. It is a good idea to carefully review this information because the only time that you can make changes to your plan is during Open Enrollment.
How To Get Help With Medicare Open Enrollment
For more tips on using your Medicare Plan, check out this helpful blog post. To find and compare Medicare Plans in your area, use this handy Plan Finder from Medicare. If you still have questions about Medicare or open enrollment, take a look at this complete list of Medicare resources.