Medicare Open Enrollment Starts Oct. 15 – Are You in the Right Plan?

Category: Health Issues

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.

For further reading
Forbes: Growth in Medicare Advantage Plans Predicted
So You’re Turning 65: Here Is Your Guide – Medicare 101

Posted by Admin on October 12th, 2018

7 Comments »

  1. For four years I have chosen my own plan for supplemental part B and D. In the past I did not think Med Advantage plans included a PPO, only HMOs, but I could be wrong.
    Because we travel to the south for several months, an HMO would not cover us going out of state. This year we are meeting with a Medicare consultant to determine the best plan for us. If I understand right, we should be able to find a Medicare advantage plan with a PPO that can be used wherever we go, and save money.

    by Bill — October 13, 2018

  2. Thank you for the reminder! You make this easier to understand than others have. I love the link for SHIP, that is very helpful. I don’t think I need to change anything with my Medicare plan, but I am going to switch my Part D. I was waiting to do this and I appreciate the reminder that the time is almost here!

    by Susan — October 13, 2018

  3. This was in my inbox yesterday and is another link to Medicare with just 5 questions to see if you are on the right plan:
    https://www.medicare.gov/medicarecoverageoptions/?utm_campaign=20181011medgalccrs&utm_content=english&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

    by Darla — October 13, 2018

  4. I am pretty sure that if you assign your Medicare to a Medicare Advantage where you are, if you need medical services out of that area you will need to request coverage for it and it might not qualify. Example, you need treatment in Mexico or Canada or France. I think you need to seek coverage if you travel outside the US.

    Editors note: You are correct Sherwin. Medicare and Medicare Advantage (unless you have some special MA plan we are not aware of) is not available when you are out of the U.S. Within the U.S. you need to check to make sure that your MA plan has health care coverage in the areas you are visiting.

    by Sherwin Farr — October 14, 2018

  5. I have read that if you go on the Advantage plan (Medicare Part C), if you should become sick and try to get a medigap plan when you are eligible to change, underwriting takes place and if you have any preexisting conditions they will refuse to sell you a policy. The article said you should consider buying a medigap policy for traditional Medicare when you are first eligible.

    by Louise — October 14, 2018

  6. That is why whenever we travel outside the country like the Caribbean or Europe, we always buy travel insurance. It is well worth the couple hundred $ for peace of mind to know that you are covered medically outside the country.

    by Bill — October 14, 2018

  7. Yes Bill! I too buy travel insurance whenever I travel outside of the USA. I also make sure it will repatriate my body back home should I die from an illness or accident. VERY important.

    by Jennifer — October 15, 2018

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