Thursday, October 12, 2023
Medicare Open Enrollment is here! Now is the time to compare your current coverage to all your choices for 2024 and select the plan that best fits your needs and budget. Medicare’s Open Enrollment period gives everyone with Medicare the opportunity to make changes to their prescription drug plans or health plans for coverage beginning January 1, 2024. But don’t delay, the Open Enrollment period ends on December 7.
You may not have to make any changes to your coverage if you’re happy with it, but taking time to review your options could save you money. Open Enrollment is your opportunity to review any changes in coverage and to get help understanding what these changes will mean for you in 2024.
Is Your Part D Prescription Drug Plan Working for You?
Medicare Part D helps cover the cost of your prescription drugs and many vaccines. Each fall, enrollees receive an Annual Notice of Change from their prescription drug plan provider that includes any changes in coverage, costs and more, effective in January.
Changes could include:
- Cost of the plan premium, deductible, and copayments
- Drugs covered by the plan
- Certain drug classifications which could affect out-of-pocket costs
One of the best ways to review your Part D plan options is with the Medicare Plan Finder on medicare.gov. The Plan Finder lets you compare and enroll in a Part D Prescription Drug Plan. You can enter your drug information to see estimated drug costs for the next year, what is covered, and whether your pharmacy is giving you the best price for your medications.
Original Medicare vs Medicare Advantage (Part C)
You can choose between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans.
- Original Medicare includes Part A, Part B, and you can add a Part D prescription plan and a Medigap or supplemental insurance plan.
- Medicare Advantage is a bundled plan, offered by Medicare-approved private companies, that includes Part A, Part B, and usually your Part D prescription coverage. Medicare Advantage plans can include extra benefits that Medicare usually doesn’t cover like dental, vision, and hearing.
Your choice between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage can affect the doctors you can see and where you go for your heath care. Some people save more money with Original Medicare while others find Medicare Advantage to be more cost-effective. Medicare Advantage plans can be compared on the Medicare Plan Finder to help you choose between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage.
Are There Benefits That Can Help Me Save on Medicare Costs?
You are most likely being bombarded with advertisements and mailings promising cost savings and free services but it can be overwhelming and confusing to know if these programs actually do what they claim to do.
Two trusted programs that are available to save on Medicare costs are:
- Medicare Savings Programs– a State Medicaid program that can help to pay Medicare premiums and possibly deductibles and coinsurance.
- Extra Help (Part D)– a program that helps pay Medicare prescription drug program costs like premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance.
Where Can I Get Help?
If you would like assistance reviewing your options on the Plan Finder, Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselors are available to guide you. This program provides local, in-depth, and objective insurance counseling and assistance to Medicare-eligible individuals, their families, and caregivers. For more information visit our website here.
AgeGuide also has a variety of videos on Medicare on YouTube. These videos include how to use the Medicare Plan Finder, find care providers, find a new Medicare plan now, and more! These videos are available in English, Spanish, Polish, Chinese, Hindi, Urdu, and Tagalog.
Call your local SHIP site for help:
Follow this link to find your local SHIP site.