If you are 65 or over, there’s an important deadline coming up you need to know about.
It’s open enrollment season for Medicare, and it runs from October 15 to December 7.
What does that mean?
During the October 15 through December 7 annual enrollment period (AEP), you can make changes to your Medicare coverage for 2020.
According to Cindy Krischer Goodman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4.5 million Medicare participants in the state of Florida are affected, with roughly half of those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans.
Goodman says there are a lot of changes for 2020 that can impact your budget and the health services you can receive, so do your homework before time runs out.
What kinds of changes can you make during open season?
- You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.
- You can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another.
- And if you didn’t enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when you were first eligible, you can do so during the general open enrollment, although a late enrollment penalty may apply.
What if I’m happy with what I have?
If you don’t want to make any changes, there’s nothing you need to do during the open enrollment period.
However, it’s still a good idea to do your homework.
“Plan details can change annually, so you may want to compare your plan options to confirm your health and prescription drug needs are covered by your plan for the next year,” say experts at eHealthInsurance.
What about my Medicare Supplemental plan?
You can relax. Medicare supplemental plans are not part of the Open Season process, so there is no requirement to make changes to your Medicare supplemental (Medigap) plan right now.
You are always free to switch from one supplemental plan to another (with some caveats), but that process is handled directly with your agent or the insurance companies offering the plans.
As way of background, Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans are separate from Medicare plans. Supplemental plans are designed to fill in the gaps under your Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) coverage by paying for deductibles, copays, and other out-of-pocket costs.
One last tip: South Florida Medicare advisor Missey Kirby notes that there are important changes to some Medicare supplement plans in 2020, so it’s a good idea to check with your advisor to see if you need to take action.
What if I need help?
Medicare can be very confusing, so make sure to get the expert advice you need. Here’s a few options:
- The Sun-Sentinel article lists many free resources you can turn to, including Florida’s SHINE (Serving the Health Insurance Needs of Elders) volunteer counselors, and Medicare’s online Plan Finder at medicare.gov/find-a-plan.
- We would be more than happy to refer clients to an unbiased advisor who specializes in Medicare coverage and options. Their services are usually available to you for no additional cost, as any costs are covered by the insurance carriers.