Seniors have one more day to change their Medicare plans, including choosing a new Medicare Advantage plan, and open enrollment in the program ends at the end of July, December.
Medicare Advantage plans are becoming increasingly popular among seniors, and nearly half of Medicare-eligible Americans have opted for one of these private programs this year, according to the Kaiser Family. foundationA typical subscriber can choose from 39 different plans. That said, choosing the right plan can be almost overwhelming.
During open enrollment, seniors can revert to their original Medicare plan, also known as Medicare Part A and Part B, and choose a new Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or Part D. By comparison, Medicare Advantage plans typically bundle Part A, Part B. and Part D into one plan for her, often dangling other insurance such as dental and eye care to convince seniors to sign up.
Experts say there are pitfalls to watch out for when choosing the Medicare Advantage plan that’s right for you.
Find a Medicare Advantage Plan Provider
One thing older people should do each year is check to see if their doctor (and prescription) is covered by a Medicare Advantage Plan. Unlike traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage works like a private insurance plan with in-network and out-of-network coverage.
Even if you’re on a Medicare Advantage plan that you plan to keep, double check with your existing plan provider, as plans often change each year.
“These are private insurers. They renegotiate their contracts with their providers every year so they can change providers. This includes pharmacy and prescription drug coverage,” she said. It’s very unrealistic to think that you can just sign up and sit on autopilot, but that’s what the vast majority of people do.”
Often the quickest way to check is to call the provider’s office. This is because the online directory may not be up to date. Also, agents trying to sell policies may provide incorrect information. Evan Tunis, president of Florida Healthcare Insurance, said: Nerd Wallet.
Check your plan’s drug coverage
Medication coverage is another important factor within a Medicare Advantage plan that can change from year to year, so seniors should visit medicare.gov to see how much to pay for a prescription. Yes, says Johnson.
Seniors taking insulin should double check that the brand of medication they are taking is covered by the Advantage Plan.Insulin prices will increase next year capped $35 per month — but that price limit applies only to brands covered by the plan.
“If the brand you take is Lantus and it covers other insulins, you may be in for a mismatch.
Seniors can check their coverage by entering their drug information. medicare.gov.
Check out-of-network costs
One common mistake Johnson sees is for seniors to choose advantage plans based on low premiums or giveaways, such as grocery allowances.
“Nothing in life is free,” Johnson said. “There are many Medicare Advantage plans with very low or no premiums, but virtually every service people use has a copayment.” “
Johnson recommends anticipating the worst-case scenario. If you become very ill and require intensive medical attention and many follow-up visits, what is the highest amount you can expect to pay out of your pocket? It can be even more if you leave the network.
On the other hand, many Medicare Advantage plans include vision and dental benefits not covered by traditional Medicare, so older people should consider which factors are most important to them.
Premium-free plans can save healthy people money, but they can’t always predict if they’ll get sick and need a lot of care.
“It’s a gamble because older people tend to get sick and use services,” Tricia Newman, director of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Medicare Policy Program, told Nerd Wallet.
be skeptical over time
During the current open enrollment period, which begins October 15 and ends December 7, seniors can switch from Traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage or change their current Medicare Advantage plan. You can also go back to your original Medicare.
This isn’t the only opportunity for seniors already enrolled in Medicare Advantage to make changes. A person who has already subscribed to these plans can also switch Advantage Her plans between January 1st and her March 31st, but only he can switch plans during that time. Only once. period.
But experts warn seniors not to rush into Medicare Advantage plans in hopes of saving money or getting freebies like gym memberships. Deceptive marketing abounds, from insurance agents’ false coverage descriptions and celebrity-filled TV ads touting special offers, to marketing emails masquerading as “official” government mail.
Senator Ron Wyden’s office concluded that seniors “are riddled with aggressive marketing tactics and false and misleading information.” report last month.
Consider Medigap coverage
While it is possible to switch from Medicare Advantage back to traditional Medicare during open enrollment, seniors should also consider Medigap coverage, formally known as Medicare Supplement Insurance. Older people are first eligible for Medigap when they turn 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits and outpatient care.
During the six-month open enrollment period when you first sign up for a Medigap plan, seniors can purchase any policy they wish, regardless of their health status, but only once. Seniors who sign up for an Advantage plan and then return to traditional Medicare may find themselves paying much more for a Medigap plan.
“In most states, insurers are not required to provide Medicare and Medigap supplements during the initial coverage period when you first enroll in Medicare.
The process can be confusing and overwhelming. “It’s really painful for the average person. You’ll probably find it frustrating to go through this process, just like paying taxes,” Johnson said.
Those who need help can turn to one of two resources:
state health insurance assistance programs, or transport, can match seniors with Medicare-trained navigators who can assess patient needs and recommend plans.Older people should visit Welfare diagnosisrun by the National Council on Aging, to see if you qualify for a program that helps pay for medicines, food, and other needs.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/medicare-advantage-open-enrollment-ends-december-7/ Medicare general enrollment ends soon. Here’s what you should know: