Medicare Open Enrollment – October 15 through December 7
By: Kate L. Wakeman, Esq.
Each year from October 15 through December 7 is the Medicare open enrollment period. This is a time for individuals who are already enrolled in Medicare to make changes to their coverage for the upcoming year. These changes can include:
- Switching from Original Medicare (Parts A – Hospital Insurance & Part B – Medical Insurance) to a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C);
- Switching from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare;
- Switching from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan;
- Adding or dropping Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D).
It is important to evaluate your Medicare coverage each year to decide if you should make any changes. Staying informed about your Medicare coverage and evaluating same before December 7 can help you avoid costly mistakes that will impact your insurance coverage next year. Some things to consider when evaluating your coverage include:
- What, if any, changes are being made to your current plan and whether your needs will still be met;
- Whether your doctor(s) will accept a different plan;
- Whether your needs have changed or will change in the upcoming year;
- If you have been prescribed any new medications and need Part D coverage;
- If you are considering nursing home care;
- The cost of switching plans or adjusting your coverage.
Before switching from Traditional Medicare to an Advantage Plan (Part C) it is imperative that you understand you will no longer have Medicare benefits, but will be signing up with a private health insurance company who will manage your care. Advantage Plans (Part C) are normally regional, have limited list of doctors, and limited long-term care coverage in a skilled nursing facility. Before switching, it is best to get proper advice on what benefits you are giving up under Traditional Medicare when considering a switch to an Advantage Plan (Part C).
If you have questions regarding Medicare coverage, reach out to a trusted source such as SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders), a free program offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and your local Area Agency on Aging that offers free counseling and workshops regarding Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance.
The Elder Law Center of Kirson & Fuller can assist you with your Medicare questions, as well as all other areas of elder law, including Medicaid and VA planning, Guardianship, Probate & Trust Administration, Estate Planning Special Needs Trusts. Please call our office at (407) 422-3017 to schedule a time to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.