Medicare Open Enrollment for 2018
The Fall season is in full swing, which means that once again, it’s open enrollment for Medicare, also known as the Annual Election Period. It started on October 15, and it will end on December 7, which means you’ve only got a few weeks to get some things done. Here are a couple of key points:
First, this open enrollment period impacts Medicare participants who have “original or traditional Medicare” which includes Part A, B, C (knows as Medicare Advantage) and D. This is the one time of year where you can switch from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage or add or change Part D plans. So if your current plan costs too much or you don’t like the coverage or something else, you can use this time window to change it and they have to accept you. On the other hand, if you like the plan you’re on, you don’t have to do anything – they’ll automatically re-enroll you for another year if your plan is still available.
Second, this enrollment period is different than the Initial Enrollment Period. As I said a moment ago, this is the time for switching or changing plans. The Initial Enrollment Period is when you’re supposed to first sign up for Medicare and Supplemental coverage. The initial enrollment time is usually the 7 month period starting three months before you turn 65 and ending 3 months after you turn age 65, unless you postpone applying for Medicare because you’re already covered by a medical plan through current employment group health coverage
Third, even if you ARE satisfied with your current Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, there might be another plan in your area that offers better health or drug coverage at a more affordable price. It’s worth finding out. And even though some people may actually see a slight decrease in their Part D premiums next year – you could still end up paying a lot more in out-of-pocket costs if your plan increases your co-payments.
Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts to all of this, and you want to make sure you’re protected if there are problems with enrollment. If you want to enroll in a new plan, the best way to do it is to call Medicare directly at 1-800-MEDICARE. Make sure you write down everything you discussed, the date of the conversation, and the name of the person you dealt with. And before you enroll, be sure to confirm ALL of the details about your new plan.
As always, if you need any additional guidance or assistance, just give us a call. We’re here to help.
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Rick Plum is a registered representative of, and offers securities through, Lucia Securities, LLC, a registered broker/dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Lucia Capital Group, a registered investment advisor, and an affiliate of Lucia Securities, LLC. Registration with the SEC does not imply a certain level of skill or training.