Medicare open enrollment is here! It runs from October 15 through December 7. This is the time of the year when you can enroll in, drop, or change Medicare plans. You may be tempted to change Medicare plans during open enrollment for several reasons. If you change Medicare plans, you could potentially save money and improve your coverage. Here are four reasons you might consider changing your Medicare plan during open enrollment.
1. Your doctor no longer accepts your Medicare plan
Most doctors who accept Medicare assignment will accept Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), but if you have Medicare Advantage, you may be limited to which doctors you can see in-network. Medicare Advantage has a limited network of doctors. You can still see out-of-network doctors no matter what Medicare plan you have, although you’ll have to pay more. Make sure your doctor accepts Medicare assignment by calling and confirming this before every appointment.
2. Your premiums have increased
If your Medicare Advantage premiums have increased over the past year, you may be tempted to switch to Original Medicare. Additionally, open enrollment is a good time to reevaluate your drug plan if the premium has increased over the past year.
3. Your drug plan has changed its formulary
Every drug plan has a formulary, or list of covered drugs. It’s important to check your drug plan’s formulary to make sure they cover your prescription drugs. If they don’t, it might be worth it to change Medicare plans and find one that covers your prescriptions drugs. A drug plan must give you a 60-day written notice if it changes the formulary.
4. Medicare Advantage is expending its definition of healthcare
Over the past couple years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved Medicare Advantage to expand their definition of healthcare. Some plans already cover things like dental, vision, and hearing care (none of which are covered by Original Medicare), but they could soon be covering more things. This includes items and services like non-emergency medical transportation and even healthy groceries for qualified beneficiaries. About one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries have Medicare Advantage, but CMS expects that number to grow given this expansion of healthcare.
Remember: open enrollment is October 15 – December 7, and any changes you make during this time take effect on January 1, 2022.
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