Medicare Open Enrollment Ends December 7. Here’s What You Need To Know.
At this time of year, you’ve probably seen and heard thousands of advertisements telling you it’s Medicare Open Enrollment time. Open Enrollment is October 15 – December 7 and is the only period in the year when you can change your Medicare plan. The information seems like it comes fast and furious, and there can be a lot of confusion about what to do.
So, What Should You Do?
The first thing to do is review your current Medicare plan and any changes to the plan for 2023. You can find this information in the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC) your provider recently sent you.
If you have not read the material and are not sure what your Medicare coverage is, visit Medicare.gov where you can review your coverage. If you already have an account, you can log in. If not, you can sign up for one.
Chances are, you are one of the 62% of enrollees who are covered by Medicare Parts A and B, or what is known as Original Medicare.
What Are Medicare Parts A and B?
Medicare Part A covers the following:
- Inpatient hospital care
- Skilled nursing facility care
- Home health care
- Hospice care
Medicare Part B covers the following:
- Provider services
- Durable medical equipment
- Home health services
- Ambulance services
- Preventive services
- Therapy services
- Mental health services
- X-rays and lab tests
- Chiropractic care
- Select prescription drugs
Original Medicare allows you to see any provider accepting Medicare. For a comprehensive explanation of what the services entail, visit Medicare Interactive.
Among those enrolled in Original Medicare, 83% have Medigap, which is a supplemental insurance policy sold by private insurance companies that fills in the gaps of Original Medicare and can help pay some of the remaining health care costs, like co-payments, prescription medications, and deductibles.
Payments for Medicare Parts A and B are deducted from your monthly Social Security check. Private insurers bill you directly for Medigap coverage.
What Is a Medicare Advantage Plan?
You may be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C). These plans are sold by private insurance companies and include Medicare Parts A and B. Of the nearly 64 million Americans covered by Medicare, 37% have a Medicare Advantage Plan. Plans may offer coverage that Parts A and B don’t for things like fitness programs, and some vision, hearing and dental services. Some Medicare Advantage Plans cover in-home care services to help with activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, grooming and walking, and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), such as transportation, grocery shopping and light housekeeping. If you choose to select Original Medicare and need in-home care, Right at Home offers a FREE Ways To Pay Guide that covers a myriad of ways to cover costs for services.
Unlike Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage Plans have closed provider networks that limit your choice of doctors or medical facilities. Medicare Advantage costs also are largely based on how much medical care you need, making it more difficult to budget for health care costs.
For a comparison of coverage by Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, the Medicare website offers an informative chart.
What’s the Next Step?
After reviewing your options, Right at Home suggests you assess your health over the current year and how health issues may impact your health in the coming year. For example, have your prescriptions changed? Will you need to have that knee surgery you’ve been putting off? Do you have new health conditions that may require more monitoring by health care professionals? Will you need some help aging in place?
Ways To Change Your Coverage
If you decide to switch to a new Medicare Advantage Plan, simply join the plan you chose. You will be disenrolled automatically from your old plan when your new plan’s coverage begins. To switch to Original Medicare, contact your broker if you have supplemental insurance, or call 1-800-MEDICARE. You also can go online to chat with someone.
Do nothing if you want to keep your current plan.
But, whatever you do, act before December 7, or wait until 2023 to make changes.
Right at Home’s professional in-home caregivers provide services that support both the physical and emotional health of senior clients. Use our location finder to contact your local Right at Home* and ask for a FREE in-home consultation.
*The information in this article is not intended to replace expert financial advice. In-home care services vary by location.
8 Questions Answered About the Medicare Maze
What Is a Medicare Advantage Plan?
“Medicare Advantage plans include the benefits of Parts A and B, and normally also include Part D, which is prescription drug coverage,” says Doug Robertson, Healthcare Regulation and Compliance Manager at Right at Home. “Medicare Advantage plans can include smaller ancillary benefits like vision, dental and now home care. While Medicare provides the same benefits regardless of geography, Medicare Advantage plans can differ from county to county and certainly from one state to the next.”