The Medicare program supports an open enrollment period during which you can make changes to the benefits packages, rules and plans available to you. This time varies slightly every year and for 2013 it extends between October 15 and December 7. The options are endless and the information is difficult to navigate sometimes which results in many beneficiaries keeping the same plans year after year. In some cases, the plans are getting better but the complexities between combining insurance plans discourage enrollees from switching their plans. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the next open enrollment period and maximize your benefits with the most convenient plan.
You can get more with part C
Many people covered by part A and B of the Medicare program are unaware of the additional benefits they can have access to if they were to sign up for the Medicare Advantage Plan, also known as Part C. Although more expensive at first, you should look into the costs of upgrading if your current plan does not cover all of your current needs.
Sign up for Part D
This is the prescription part of the insurance. If you expect to be taking additional medication in the upcoming year, make sure to consider this when you are looking for options because it is more costly to sign up for it later in the year. In most cases, there are penalties for switching or enrolling late. Try to get all your prescribed medications through the plan’s preferred pharmacies as you can get better benefits and less out-of-pocket costs.
Get a clear idea of the total costs you have to incur
Premiums are often only a portion of what you might need to pay. Make sure you read the fine prints and look into things like deductibles and copay’s fees. By knowing these exact costs, you will stay within your healthcare budget.
Get informed early
Keep in mind that the plans change from year to year and you might not be getting the same services this year. Pay attention to the newsletters and notices you get in the mail. This is how you can keep informed and have everything you need by the time the open enrollment period commences. You can sign up for the plan quickly and easily and not risk missing a deadline because you were not prepared.
By being mindful of the open enrollment dates, you can save yourself time and money. It is advised that you talk with your healthcare adviser and get all your questions and concerns addressed weeks before open enrollment.