It’s Time for Medicare Open Enrollment!

iStock_000065603609_SmallIt’s that time of year again: On October 15, Medicare Open Enrollment began. The enrollment period will last until December 7, and any changes you make to your coverage will become effective on January 1, 2016.

So what do you need to do now?

A lot of people make the mistake of overlooking Medicare Open Enrollment. They didn’t have any major concerns with their health insurance policy over the previous year, and your Medicare policy can change over time!

First, make sure that you read any Medicare notices that arrive in your mailbox. Plan administrators frequently make changes to Medicare plans, and read any letters that you receive.

You can also log onto the Medicare website to read about upcoming changes for 2016.

Another thing you should do is review your health care spending over the past year. If you use a debit card linked to a checking account, or a designated credit card for all health care expenses, this step should be easy. Investigate your out-of-pocket expenses for the past year. Are they too high?

Third, you should assess your current state of health. After 65, most of us can count on significant health changes that occur rapidly and often without much warning. Talk to your doctor about tests, procedures, or even hereditary illnesses which might cause you to incur additional expenses in the coming year. Is your physician considering a change to your medication? You might need to consider a Medicare Part D plan to help with the cost of your prescriptions. Or, you might wish to switch from your current plan into a Medicare Advantage plan which covers prescriptions (some do; some do not).

Another issue you should investigate is whether a Medicare Supplement plan might be right for you. These plans can help to bridge the financial gap left by co-pays and some are specially configured to help you access special medical care (such as international health care or special needs care).

After considering your 2015 health care expenditures, and we can walk you through your options for different Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, or Medicare Part D plans.

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