When you turn 65, you are eligible to receive Medicare benefits. But once you enroll in your new health care plan, you still have decisions and changes to make along the way. Each year, Medicare operates an Open Enrollment period. This year, Medicare Open Enrollment will run from October 15 to December 7.
What do I need to do during Medicare Open Enrollment?
Each year, Medicare plans may make changes to the services and make changes to your Medicare plan as needed.
What kind of changes can I make during Medicare Open Enrollment?
During the Open Enrollment period, you can make changes to your health care plans, such as:
- Switch from your original Medicare plan to a Medicare Advantage plan, or switch from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare
- Make a change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
- Join a Medicare Part D plan (for prescription drug coverage), or change from one Part D plan to another one that better suits you
- Drop Part D coverage entirely
How do I know if I need to make changes?
Ask yourself if you have been happy with the coverage you have been receiving under your current plan. Are your out-of-pocket expenses too high? Has the state of your health changed, or do you anticipate needing new procedures or services in the coming year? This is the time to assess whether your current plan is meeting your needs, and whether it will continue to meet your needs in the future.
This is overwhelming! How can I get more information? Talk to your personal physician about your health care needs in the near future. You can get more information about Medicare on the agency website: www.medicare.gov or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE. And as always, pay attention to those notices you receive in the mail. They often detail important upcoming changes to your health care plan.