October 13, 2018 — Medicare Open Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 – Dec. 7. If you are currently on Medicare, or didn’t sign up when you were first eligible for it, now is the time to compare plans and make sure you have the coverage that’s right for you in 2019.
Sure you are busy and have many things to think about. But spending a little time and effort every year to make sure you are in the right plan Medicare plan is important. For example, maybe you currently have Medicare Part B along with a supplemental plan. Flash forward to the present. Your health needs might have changed since then, maybe enough so that you aren’t in the right plan anymore. Maybe Medicare Advantage (Part C) makes more sense now because it probably covers additional benefits such as vision, dental, and hearing, prescription drug coverage, along with lower deductibles. Or perhaps you have new doctors or will spend a lot of time out of state- in that case Medicare Advantage might not make any sense anymore. Bottom line: you really won’t know if you have the right plan unless you investigate the alternatives and compare them against your needs.
When you can’t switch
Another complication is that it is not always possible to switch plans the way you want. A preexisting condition or new diagnosis might mean you are not accepted to the plan you prefer. For that reason it is really critical to make the smartest choices you can when you first start Medicare.
Medicare Advantage Plans
Experts like L.E.K. Consulting predict that more and more people are going to switch to Medicare Advantage Plans, with its market share going from the current 35% to 50% by the end of 2025. One reason for that is that more insurers are offering Part C plans in more states and markets. More than 91% of people with Medicare will have access to 10 or more Medicare Advantage plans in 2019, compared to nearly 86 percent in 2018, according to CMS.
Medicare Advantage Plans are a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare, and they provide all of your Part A and Part B benefits. Medicare Advantage Plans include:
Health Maintenance Organizations
Preferred Provider Organizations
Private Fee-for-Service Plans
Special Needs Plans
Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans
Bottom line – check out your options now!
Start your annual Medicare checkup by going to Medicare.gov. There you will be able to compare plans and get rates. If you have questions SHIP has the contact information for every state resource where you can get free advice about Medicare plans.
Comments? Are you changing Medicare plans in 2019? Are you in Medicare Advantage? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the Comments section below.