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The Medicare Open Enrollment Period for 2017 is here!

Enrollment in Medicare is limited to certain times of the year so it’s important to know when you can enroll in the different parts of Medicare.   If you have a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C)  or prescription drug plan (Part D), Open Enrollment runs October 15 through December 7 so now is the time you can make changes to your plan.

Even if you are happy with your current plan,  it can be helpful to explore other options.  You may find a plan that is less expensive or that will provide better coverage for your current health needs.     If you miss an Open Enrollment deadline, you’ll most likely have to wait a full year before you can make changes to your plan.

During this Open Enrollment Period, if you currently have Original Medicare as your primary insurance, you can do the following;

  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan if you do not have one
  • Drop your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan completely
  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan

If you currently have a Medicare Advantage Plan as your primary insurance, you can do the following;

  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that does not offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does not offer drug coverage.

 

Here are some things that a Medicare beneficiary can do to prepare for the Medicare Open Enrollment Period.

Review your plan notices. If you are in a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan, it is important to take the time to review the materials sent to you by the plan carrier.   This would include the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC).   Make sure that your drugs are still covered and your doctors are still in network (for Medicare Advantage Plans).  Even if your plans are changing, they still can provide you with the coverage that you need for the upcoming year.  You will not need to do anything during the Open Enrollment Period if you are satisfied that your plan will continue to meet your needs.

 

Consider what you like or don’t like about your current plans and be aware of what is important to you.  Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan options can change their available benefits and options from year to year.  Your health needs can change every year as well. Open Enrollment is the time of year that Medicare beneficiaries can assess both their health and their coverage and see what new choices are available.  It is the time to make a comparison of your current plan to the new options and see if you can lower costs or increase benefits.

 

Dan Katzeff is a licensed and certified agent appointed with many highly-rated insurance companies to offer their Medicare plans.  He is an independent resource who helps his clients understand all of their options and make an educated decision when selecting their plan.  He meets the rigorous criteria necessary to be designated “Authorized to Offer” by AARP Medicare Plans.  Dan also serves as a Vice-President of The Legal Vendors Network of New Jersey.   Mr. Katzeff and “The Medicare Advisor” does not represent Medicare or any branch of the government.   For more information, contact (973)-535-3181, Dan@TheMedicareAdvisor.com

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