The open enrollment period for Medicare started on October 15 and it runs through December 7. That means now is the time you can make changes to your Medicare plans—review what your real, out-of-pocket costs are on your current plan, look over other options and make a switch if it’s in your best interest.
Keep in mind that all the talk about getting insurance under the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act does not apply to people on Medicare, but rather to the uninsured. I you’re already on Medicare, you don’t have to do anything. Your Medicare isn’t affected by the changes, except that as part of the reform, you should more preventive services to keep you healthy and see the donut hole in prescription drug coverage close more and more each year. However, the Medicare Open Enrollment period does apply to you—it’s your once-a-year chance to review your coverage.
Whether you have traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, use the Open Enrollment period to figure out if you have the best available coverage for your unique health needs. “Your health and prescription drug needs may change from year to year or the plan you have may make changes,” says Nicole Duritz, AARP Vice President, Health Education and Outreach. “That’s why regardless of whether you have original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s important to evaluate your choices during open enrollment.” When reviewing available plans, AARP recommends considering each of these factors:
More information on the Medicare Open Enrollment is available online through the Medicare Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan or by calling Medicare at 1-800 - 633-4227. “We know there are scammers out there,” says Duritz. “So we’re spreading the word to make sure Medicare beneficiaries know where to get accurate information.” Cutting Prescription Costs In The Coverage Gap
Because of the donut hole, you might find that the cost of drugs to keep you healthy eats up too much of your money. Medicare suggests these 6 steps you can take to lower your costs while the donut hole is still closing: