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Human Resource Benefits: What Medicare Open Enrollment Means

By October 29, 2012 February 19th, 2015 No Comments

Multiracial senior women in water aerobics classOpen Enrollment is a time each year when beneficiaries can change their Medicare coverage, if they choose. It’s much like open enrollment for health care insurance you may have had through an employer.

Especially if you are part of a group health plan or have group health benefits, you may have questions regarding medicare versus your group plan.  This is the time that you need to investigate your options.

Open enrollment is your chance to explore all your Medicare choices and make sure that you have the right coverage for you in the coming year. If what you already have is working for you, then great. You can relax and let open enrollment pass by. However, if your health status or life circumstances have changed, then you may want to change your Medicare coverage, too.
Open enrollment started on October 15 and runs through December 7.

Here’s what you can do during open enrollment:

  • Change from Original Medicare (Parts A and B) to a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan or vice versa. You remain enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B even when you choose to get your coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan. Many Medicare Advantage plans include drug coverage and other extra benefits that you don’t get with Original Medicare. They also often have defined provider and pharmacy networks that you must use. You can choose to go outside the network, but you may pay more for services.
  • Switch from one standalone Medicare prescription drug plan to a different Medicare prescription drug plan. You can get a standalone drug plan if you have Original Medicare or certain Medicare Advantage plans (Private Fee-For-Service or Medicare Savings Account.)
  • Join a Medicare prescription drug plan or drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely. If you drop your drug coverage, you may have to pay more to get it back later.

Did you know that people associate enrolling with Medicare only at the time they want to retire! Don’t wait until you retire…if you are approaching age 64 or are about to turn 65 you need good advice about what all your options are…. Contact our Medicare specialist and review what is available for you or even a loved one.

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