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Medicare Open Enrollment Period Begins October 15

Published October 31, 2018

Medicare beneficiaries have a once-a-year chance to modify their drug prescription plans and switch to a Medicare Advantage plan for 2019.

The 2019 Medicare Open Enrollment period is just around the corner. From October 15 to December 7, current Medicare beneficiaries will have the opportunity to change important aspects of their health insurance coverages.

Now is the time to start thinking about 2019. Will this year’s coverages meet a beneficiaries’ needs in 2019? Will the current plan be affordable? If not, a change during the Medicare Open Enrollment period could be in order.

During the open enrollment period, Medicare beneficiaries may:

  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plan
  • Switch from traditional Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) to Medicare Advantage
  • Switch back from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare coverage
  • Sign up, drop or switch to a different prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D)
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By law, insurance companies organizations are not permitted to begin marketing health care plans until October 1. Any promotional materials regarding health care insurance offerings should be saved for consideration.

When new plan’s documents arrive in the mail, it is best to carefully review them to ensure that the current Medicare selections will affordably meet all anticipated health care needs for the upcoming year. Here are a few key coverage aspects that Medicare beneficiaries should scrutinize:

  • Prescription drugs. Medicare beneficiaries should review their plan’s drug schedule to make sure that the drugs they take are still on the schedule.
  • Primary care physician. Beneficiaries should make sure that their primary care physician is still in the plan’s provider network.
  • Health care specialists. Here again, are the beneficiary’s specialists still on the in-network provider list?
  • Premiums and covered services. Changes in deductibles and the extent to which costs of medical procedures are reimbursed should be carefully examined. Better rates and/or broader coverage might be available elsewhere.

Remember, the opportunity to make health care insurance changes is during the Medicare Open Enrollment period. The new enrollment period is not until October 2019.

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