Updated: Jan 28
3 ways to save money during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
The Medicare annual enrollment period is here and if you want to save some money next year, now’s the time to act.
Open enrollment for Medicare and Part D prescription coverage runs each year from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7.
This is a critical period for seniors because this is when they can shop around for plans that will do a better job of meeting their healthcare needs next year.
Changes you can make include swapping from original Medicare (Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical coverage) to a private Medicare Advantage plan.
You can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, as well as join a prescription drug plan.
Determining what’s appropriate is no small feat for seniors, who might not know the details of their coverage off the top of their head.
Most people at work have a human resources department that limits the plan options, so you have a menu of 2 to 3 different things
In the world of Medicare, you’re the benefits manager and there are dozens of unique combinations of benefits.
It pays to shop around.
Here are 3 ways to help make the selection process a little less challenging.
1. Get to know your plan
In the fall, keep an eye on your mailbox for an “annual notice of change” from your Medicare plan.
This letter details all the changes coming in the new year, including coverage and costs such as premiums, deductibles and copays.
You get this notice only if you’re already on Medicare, regardless of whether you’re employed.
There’s more to managing your costs than merely reviewing your premiums. Pull together your medical costs over the last 6 months and get a list of your doctors and your prescriptions.
The drugs that you take are based on your medical conditions and the doctors you see.
2. Compare plans
Once you’ve figured out the ins and outs of your plan, start shopping.
The Medicare Plan Finder is an online tool from the government to help you select a plan. It’ll ask you for your ZIP code and the details on the prescriptions you take, including whether you receive them by mail.
You can also try the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, which offer local counseling to seniors for free.
Don’t assume that you can just repeat the current year’s coverage.
Most people don’t think it’s a good experience to study their plan options and pick a new one. But benefits and networks can change. Your health conditions can change, too.
3. Get into the habit of planning
Medicare is essential to retirement planning. Working with a professional in both Medicare and Financial Planning can help you manage your premium costs.
Talk to your Senior Adviser or Medicare Helper now to see what you can do to better manage your healthcare costs and income. It can help you hopefully reduce Medicare costs in the future.
Let me know if you have any questions. I’m here to help.