Don’t Let Medicare Open Enrollment
Go by Without Re-Evaluating Your Options
We are fast approaching the end of the Medicare Open Enrollment period, which runs from October 15th to December 7th. Don’t let this Open Enrollment period pass by without re-evaluating your current choices and whether making a change is best for you.
During the Open Enrollment period, you may enroll in Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan. If you currently are enrolled in Medicare Part D, you have the ability to change to a different provider.
Additionally, during this seven-week period, you have the ability to:
- Return to traditional Medicare (Parts A and B) from a Medicare Advantage (Part C, managed care) plan;
- Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan; or
- Change your Medicare Advantage plan.
Beneficiaries may go to www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to make any changes to your Medicare prescription drug and health plan coverages.
The New York Times reports that very few Medicare beneficiaries have taken advantage of the Open Enrollment period; however, of those who have, nearly half have reduced their premiums by at least five-percent.
Therefore, even beneficiaries who are satisfied with their plans in 2019 should still review their choices for 2020 because both premiums and plan coverages can fluctuate from year to year. Are your doctors still part of your Medicare Advantage plan’s provider network? Are your prescription drugs being dropped from your prescription plan’s list of covered drugs (the “formulary”)? Could you potentially save money with the save coverage by switching to a different plan?
You can find answers to any of these questions by carefully reviewing your plan’s “Annual Notice of Change” letter. Prescription drug plans can and have changed their premiums, deductibles, the list of drugs they cover, and their plan rules for covered drugs, exceptions, and appeals. Medicare Advantage plans can also change their benefit packages and the provider networks.
Be warned that during this Open Enrollment period, fraud is rampant as criminals will inevitably use the Open Enrollment period to try to gain access to your personal financial information. You should never give your personal information out to anyone making unsolicited phone calls or showing up on your doorstep uninvited to sell Medicare-related products or services. If you believe you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft, you should contact Medicare.
Below are additional resources to assist you in navigating the Open Enrollment Period.
- Medicare Plan Finder (this helps you find a plan that matches your needs):
- Medicare coverage options:
- The 2020 Medicare & You handbook (all Medicare beneficiaries should have received this. If not, the handbook can also be downloaded online at: http://medicare.gov/forms-help-resources/medicare-you-handbook/download-medicare-you-in-different-formats)
- The Medicare Rights Center:
- Pennsylvania State Health Insurance Assistance Program (“SHIP”) (offers independent counseling):
As always, we are available to answer questions and assist you with answering any questions you have about Elder Law issues affecting you or your loved ones. Please contact our office at (610) 933–8069.
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For assistance developing a comprehensive estate plan or nursing home asset protection plan in Pennsylvania, please contact Douglas L. Kaune, Esquire at (610) 933–8069 or email him at [email protected]. Doug’s entire practice is focused on elder law, Medicaid application, estate planning, trust planning, estate administration and protection of clients’ assets from nursing home spending and estate and inheritance taxation. Unruh, Turner, Burke & Frees, P.C. is a full-service law firm which has three convenient office locations in Phoenixville, West Chester and Paoli, Pennsylvania. The firm primarily services clients in Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, Philadelphia, Bucks and Berks Counties, but can represent clients throughout Pennsylvania.