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Making the Most of Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period

Posted at October 13, 2016 | By : | Categories : Articles of Interest | Comments Off on Making the Most of Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period
Open EnrollmentWith Medicare’s open enrollment season upon us, ask yourself a few questions to make sure you’re getting the most from Medicare.

Medicare’s open enrollment season is upon us. That means between October 15 and December 7, you are able to make changes to your Medicare Advantage and prescription drug coverage.

During this time you can change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice-versa or switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan. You can also join a Medicare advantage or Medicare prescription drug plan for the first time or drop your drug coverage completely.

Even if you’re satisfied with your current plan, open enrollment presents a great opportunity to make sure you’re getting the most out of Medicare. Every year you should compare your current plan to other plans in your area in case another plan offers better health and/or drug coverage at more affordable prices.

The coverage provided by insurance companies often changes each year and could result in paying more out-of-pocket on healthcare expenses throughout the year. Here are some tips to help you get started.

  • Ask yourself some important questions. Have your needs changed? Is your current coverage adequate? Will the cost of your current plan be going up? Are there comparable, lower-cost plans available?
  • Review the annual notice of change from your current plan provider. You should receive this in September.
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, make sure your doctor is still accepting your particular plan next year. If your doctor is out of network, you will have to choose a new plan or pay higher out-of-pocket costs.
  • Carefully review if your plan covers your prescription drugs and what those copayments and coinsurances costs are.
  • If you switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare, you will want to join a stand-alone Part D plan to get Medicare drug coverage.
  • Compare plans using medicare.gov’s Medicare Plan Finder.
  • Get one-on-one assistance from the State Health Insurance Assistance Program.
  • Call the Medicare Rights Center at 800.333.4114 for free counseling.
  • All changes to your Medicare plan will take effect January 1 of the next year.

Medicare decisions can be complicated. If you have any questions about open enrollment, or if you’d like to discuss how healthcare costs factor into your overall financial plan, please contact your financial advisor.

Sources: Making the Most of Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period/ Point of View Raymond James
Material prepared by Raymond James for use by advisors
Michael Schafer

About Michael Schafer

Michael (Mike) Schafer is President of Creative Wealth Associates and is a registered investment advisor representative and financial planner with Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Although that may sound like a mouth-full, Mike is known for his ability to explain in simple terms what others sometimes spew in industry-speak and intimidating undertones.

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