Medicare Open Enrollment: Final Week!

By Kristen Buchman on November 29, 2018

The end of the year can bring more changes than just the weather! The Medicare Open Enrollment Period stretches from October 15th to December 7th, which is a prime opportunity to make changes to Medicare coverage for those over the age of 65. Since this period ends next week, you may want to speak with your financial advisor about making changes, such as the following, that you generally cannot make the rest of the year:

  1. Changing a Part D prescription drug plan. Providers change their formularies, or “list of favorably-priced drugs,” from year to year. Make sure the drugs necessary for your wellness are still on that list, otherwise your medical costs could spike dramatically.
  2. Adding a Part D prescription drug plan. If you do not already have a Part D plan, you may add one during the Open Enrollment Period. The drawback to this is you will have to pay an ongoing “late enrollment penalty” along with your normal premiums. However, the longer you wait, the higher this penalty will be.
  3. Switching from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan, or vice versa. Part C plans are offered by private insurance companies, not the federal government, and can often be cheaper than original Medicare with a wider range of benefits (potentially dental and vision coverage as well as Part B and Part D). However, Medicare Advantage essentially requires you to use physicians and providers within their “network.” Therefore, it is important to make sure your desired doctors are within that network if you choose Part C coverage.

The decisions you make at 65 regarding Medicare are not permanent. As your healthcare needs change over time, it is important to make sure your Medicare coverage still fits your situation. We want you to see the doctors you want to see and take the medicines you need to take!