The annual open enrollment period for Medicare allows Americans to revise their insurance plans during Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.
Medicare plans have a variety of different parts. It’s important to know the basics of each one.
Participating In Open Enrollment
Each year, the terms and costs of Medicare plans chance drastically. Millions of beneficiaries could save large amounts of money with better plans that offer more coverage in the new year.
If one in five people choose to select a new Medicare plan, there would be a significant shift. Because Medicare is difficult to understand, most people don’t bother with changing plans.
For existing patients, the current plan will automatically renew… even if it’s not the best fit.
An Alphabet Of Plans
Making A Decision
The plans are split into a few basic choices. The Original Medicare beneficiaries may also purchase a Medigap policy. These supplemental policies fill the holes in the Original Medicare plans.
Because Original Medicare only covers 80 percent health expenses, patients will have to pay for the rest out of pocket. This can be very expensive for patients with serious conditions that require hospitalization, surgery or other costly treatments.
During open enrollment, beneficiaries can add Medigap “letter” plans. The coverage for each letter plan is identical, meaning that all A plans are the same, all B plans, and so on. The only difference is the premiums.
If you’ve already passed the beginning eligibility period for Medicare, the plans may be pricier because guaranteed issue rights to Medigap have expired. Private insurers no longer have to sell beneficiaries a plan regardless of health status or age. It’s possible that beneficiaries could be forced to pay higher premiums or deal with coverage limitations based on pre-existing medical conditions.
Original Medicare beneficiaries may also purchase a Medicare Advantage plan or change their current Advantage plan. For this specific plan, patients cannot be forced to pay higher premiums or face rejections because of current medical problems.
The only catch is that if you choose to switch to Medigap, you can’t keep a Medicare Advantage plan. The two plans can never overlap, so patients should be sure about making the switch because they will lose their guaranteed issue rights.
While 70 percent of patients have Original Medicare plans, and 30 percent are covered by Medicare Advantage, all beneficiaries can alter their Part D prescription plan during open enrollment.
Take the time to understand the different options during Medicare enrollment to receive better coverage for a cheaper price.
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