Medicare Open Enrollment: 5 Tips to Remember

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daughter-and-mom-at-computer-300x199.jpgAs most aging parents, spouses, and others know, the annual Medicare Open Enrollment process is currently underway. Many seniors wishing to make changes to their existing Medicare coverage program may be able to do so between now and December 7.

Many aging parents and other seniors are perfectly happy with their current Medicare plans and don’t need to make any changes. For those that are considering changes, here are a few tips to remember:

If you’re confused, get help. Navigating the ins and outs of open enrollment can get confusing, so don’t go it alone! Contact a Medicare representative online, by email, or on the phone, or ask a trusted family member or friend to give assistance.

Don’t wait until December 7 to start. Unless a person already knows exactly what they want, it’s a good idea to start looking over the Medicare options before the last day of the enrollment period. A person wants to make sure they are making an informed, thought-out decision, rather than rushing to pick a plan without having time to consider all the pros and cons.

Do an assessment. If a person is considering changing plans, they should take the time to pinpoint why a change might be necessary and what kind of change would be positive. Is the change motivated because something has changed with the person themselves? Or because something has changed with their current plan? Or has a preferred doctor stopped taking the current plan? If someone knows, for example, that a medication they rely on has been moved from an affordable tier of coverage to a tier that costs substantially more, they might want to look at prescription plans that provide more favorable coverage of the medication in question.

Know what’s important. Different plans provide different benefits. For example, a person who sees the doctor very frequently may prefer a plan with smaller co-pays.

Take a quiz. The National Council on Aging developed a quiz that helps people determine how to choose a plan that suits their needs. The quiz can be accessed here​.

Aging parents know that choosing a good Medicare plan can make a huge difference in their health and quality of life.  Taking time to choose the appropriate plan is a good idea.

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