It’s Medicare Open Enrollment Time!

Tips for Making Decisions during Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period

Open Enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7, 2015. Changes will be effective January 1, 2016.

Medicare decisions can become complicated for seniors and those who help them. To make things easier, here are some DOs and DON’Ts.

DOs

DO make sure you know what coverage you have and why you have it.

DO make sure you understand what you’re signing up for. Some health plans sell Medigap policies, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Part D drug plans.

DO decide if you want a change for next year. If you do nothing during the open enrollment period, you will automatically be renewed for the next year in whatever plan you are currently in.

DO watch your mail. Changes in your current plan should have arrived by mid October.

DO take the time to compare plans if you’re thinking about making a change. Visit Medicare.gov/find-a-plan to compare your current coverage with all of the options that are available in your area, and enroll in a new plan if you decide to make a change.

DO use Medicare’s internet tool for comparing drug plans (Medicare.gov) or ask for help from Medicare (800) 633-4227 (24/7), SHIP office (615) 741-2056, or a trusted pharmacist.

DO choose a Medicare Part D drug plan based on the drugs you are taking. When using the compare tool, make sure you have your personal list of medications available as well as your first and second choice of drug stores.

DO review the Medicare & You 2016 handbook. It was mailed to people with Medicare in September and is also available online at Medicare.gov.

DON’Ts

DON’T do anything if you are happy with the way things are and there are no changes to your current plans.

DON’T worry about the Affordable Care Act Health Exchange Marketplace. THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO PEOPLE ON MEDICARE.

DON’T choose a Part D drug plan just because your neighbor did. Annual costs for prescriptions and coverage can vary depending on your medications.

DON’T pay more than you have to. There is Medicare assistance available for people with low income and limited resources. For more information about the Medicare Savings Program or Part D Extra Help, visit Medicare.gov, SSA.gov or call (800) 624-5547, (800) 238-1443 or (877) 801-0044.

DON’T worry about the open enrollment period if you are a resident of a nursing home, a recipient of Medicaid, Extra Help, or a member of a Medicare Savings Program. Individuals in these programs receive a Medicare Special Enrollment period and can make changes throughout the year. Also, if you are new to Medicare, you will be given an initial opportunity to make choices.

If you’re a client and you have questions, just give us a call.~

 

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