October 13, 2021 – The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare starts this week on October 15 and ends December. 7. It is an important event for eligible people not currently enrolled in the plan, or who want to change plans or some component of their current plan.
During Open Enrollment, eligible people can sign up for Medicare. They can compare coverage options like Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, and choose health and prescription drug plans for 2021. Medicare Advantage plans have started to outsell original Medicare policies because of their increased coverages and low (even zero) premiums. If you are thinking about switching to a Medicare Advantage plan (or type of plan within Medicare Advantage), this is the time to do it. See Original Medicare Vs. Medicare Advantage – Which Is Better for You?
Medicare Plan Finder. Medicare health and drug plan costs and covered benefits can change from year-to-year. CMS urges Medicare beneficiaries to review their coverage choices and decide on the options that best meet their health needs. CMS’s Medicare Plan Finder makes it easier for beneficiaries to:
- Compare pricing between Original Medicare, Medicare prescription drug plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policies;
- Compare coverage options on their smartphones and tablets;
- Compare up to three drug plans or three Medicare Advantage plans side-by-side;
- Get plan costs and benefits, including which Medicare Advantage plans offer extra benefits;
- Build a personal drug list and find Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage that best meets their needs.
- Free, personalized counseling on Medicare options is also available through the nonprofit State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or calling 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048.
Highlights for 2021 Open Enrollment include:
- The average premium for Medicare Advantage plans will be lower in 2022 at $19 per month, compared to $21.22 in 2021, while projected enrollment continues to increase. The average 2022 premium for Part D coverage will be $33 per month, compared to $31.47 in 2021.
- Part B Medicare premiums for 2022 have not been released yet, but some experts predict an estimated 6.2% premium increase, with monthly costs jumping from $148.50 to $157.70.
Note: Most of the above information is from the Medicare.gov website. For more about see Medicare Open Enrollment.
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Comments? Do you ever change your Medicare plan, or do you tend to stick with the same one over and over? Please share your experience in the Comments section below.