Medicare’s open enrollment period happens once a year between October 15 and December 7. During this time, current Medicare beneficiaries have the option to adjust their coverage for the coming year. This can be a useful option for those who may have recently changed medication, underutilized their current coverage or found they could use additional benefits.
How to Search For Medicare Plan Options
It shouldn’t take a ton of research to determine what your current coverage is and what options are available for you during this coming enrollment period. You should receive information from the government regarding your current Medicare coverage each year. Even if your coverage hasn’t changed within the last few years, it’s important to still take time to review your current coverage and identify any areas for improvement.
There are tools available online or by phone to learn more about other plans if you’re thinking about switching or changing coverage. Medicare offers a Plan Finder tool online or you can call 1-800-MEDICARE to find out about new Advantage plans in your area. Or, check out the State Health Insurance Assistance Program site to find help in your state.
Can Anyone Make Changes During the Open Enrollment Period?
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period is only for those who are already existing Medicare beneficiaries.
If you have yet to sign up for Medicare, your period to do so runs between the three months before and three months after you turn 65.1 If you miss this initial enrollment period, you can not sign up for Medicare during the open enrollment period beginning in October. Instead, you must wait until Medicare’s general enrollment period, which runs from January 1 through March 31.1
Are Changes Made During Open-Enrollment Effective Immediately?
No, the changes you elect to make during Medicare’s open enrollment period will not go into effect until January 1, 2022.
What Changes Can Be Made During Medicare’s Open Enrollment?
During the open enrollment period, you are eligible to change your Medicare coverage, and you also have the option to switch between different Medicare plans. Below are few coverage options you can choose to add, drop or adjust depending on your needs for the new year.
Medigap is a supplemental insurance policy designed to help cover the costs of certain medical expenses that Medicare doesn’t cover. Your medigap policy may cover expenses such as:
- Medical care when traveling abroad2
Whether you’ve had Medigap coverage in the past or you’d find it beneficial moving forward, you can adjust, add or drop your Medigap coverage during open enrollment.
Medicare Advantage (or Part C) is a type of healthcare plan offered by private companies contracted through Medicare. It’s designed to combine Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) as well as, in some instances, offer a prescription drug plan or other additional coverage.
During open enrollment, you can choose to switch back to an original Medicare plan, if you found that Medicare Advantage did not fit your needs. Alternatively, you are also free to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan from an original Medicare plan during this period. Be sure to shop around for different options, as you’ll have several choices from various providers when it comes to choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plan)
If you are utilizing a Medicare Advantage plan, this may not apply to you. But for those who have an original Medicare plan, it’s important to check for changes to your Part D coverage every year. Coverage through your plan can change yearly, and your prescription needs may change as well. Make sure your current plan has your needs covered through the next year. If not, now’s the time to look around for new coverage.
Medical expenses can add up quickly, especially if your current coverage is not tailored to address your needs. Use this time to shop around for any changes that could be beneficial for the upcoming year.
Click here to schedule a call with a BWC advisor today.
The information presented in this article is obtained from or based on sources believed to be reliable. BWC does not represent or warrant its accuracy or completeness and is not responsible for losses or damages arising out of errors, omissions or changes or from the use of information presented in this article. The article does not purport to contain all the information that an interested party may desire and, in fact, provides only a limited view. Information presented does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security.
All investments involve risk, including loss of principal invested. Past Performance does not guarantee future performance. Individual client accounts and performance vary. BWC does not provide tax advice.
About Beirne Wealth Consulting Services, LLC – www.beirnewealth.com
Beirne Wealth Consulting Services, LLC (“BWC”) is a privately owned, SEC Registered Investment Advisor* with offices in Connecticut and Pennsylvania. BWC provides independent, fee-based investment management services and customized financial planning solutions. Our institutional business provides consulting expertise to defined benefit and defined contribution plans, endowments, foundations and non-profit organizations. Our private clients include high net-worth individuals and prominent families, many of whom bring complex wealth management challenges and multigenerational planning needs. For more information, please visit www.beirnewealth.com or give us a call today at 888-231-6372.
*Registration does not imply a level of skill or training.
© 2021 Beirne Wealth Consulting Services, LLC (BWC). All rights reserved. Reproduction or Use without permission is prohibited.