The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) for Medicare is upon us! From October 15 to December 7, you have a chance to review and change your Medicare Advantage plan and your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. The “open enrollment” period gives you the opportunity to sit down with a Medicare broker or agent and review your current medical treatments and medications.
An annual review of your Medicare health plan options is key in keeping costs low while finding out about new benefits that can help improve your well-being.
Below you will find a basic outline of your Medicare health plan choices. Plan options vary from county to county and state to state, so be sure to call your health insurance carrier or your broker to verify coverage.
Original Medicare with PDP
If you have the red, white, and blue card with dates next to “Part A” and “Part B,” then you have Original Medicare. Having Original Medicare means that hospital stays are covered (Part A) and doctor visits (Part B) are covered at 80%. Many people have to pay for Part B out of their Social Security check.
Original Medicare does not come with any drug coverage. To get drug coverage, you also need to purchase a Prescription Drug Plan (Part D). Not all drug plans cover all drugs, and not all drugs plans cover drugs in the same way. A prescription drug plan that was comprehensive and affordable for you five years ago, could be insufficient for your medical needs today. The only time to add or change your Part D Prescription Drug Plan is during the AEP (a.k.a. open enrollment) from October 15 to December 7.
Original Medicare with Supplement with PDP
When turning 65, some people choose to buy both a Medicare Supplement and a Prescription Drug Plan. The Medicare Supplement covers the 20% that Original Medicare doesn’t cover for doctor’s visits. (And as mentioned above, the Prescription Drug Plan covers drugs.) Medicare Supplement plans are generally referred to as a Plan – Like Plan G, Plan F, or Plan N. (Not to get them confused with Part A and Part B of Original Medicare.)
Instead of using Original Medicare with a Supplement with a Prescription Drug Plan, some people choose to have an Advantage Plan. What’s the Advantage? Advantage plans are HMO plans that manage your care and often give you additional benefits like dental coverage, gym memberships, over-the-counter purchase credits, and vision.
Medicare is a complex set of rules, plans, parts, and options. And plans change every year. In fact, there is an overwhelming amount of information. Contact you broker to discuss your options this Annual Enrollment Period.