There's no time like the present to take advantage of Open Enrollment. Are you aware of all the price and plan changes? Here's how to find out if you're eligible, when crucial deadlines are approaching, and how to make adjustments to your 2020 plan.
This year's open enrollment period starts on October 15, 2019 and finishes on December 7, 2019. Medicare Open Enrollment, like Thanksgiving, occurs only once a year. It's also the one period when all seniors can make adjustments to their Medicare coverage without fear of being turned down. It's possible that this is your first year of eligibility, or that you're renewing your coverage. In either case, you'll need to make significant judgments.
Start by examining your current coverage, totaling up your health-care spending during the previous year, and determining what you need to be covered the most in the coming 12 to 18 months. This way, you'll be able to make the best possible judgments about additional coverage and, hopefully, pay as little out of pocket as possible in 2020.
Are You Eligible for Medicare?
It's not always a bad thing to get older. One way to become automatically eligible for Medicare is to reach the age of 65. You can, however, be under 65 and yet be eligible for Medicare if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI. If you have been receiving SSDI checks for more than 24 months, you are most likely eligible for Medicare as a result of your disability. (1)
What Does Medicare Coverage Look Like?
Medicare is divided into four sections: A, B, C, and D. Each one covers a different aspect of your insurance. Part A is the most basic programme, in which the government covers most people over 65 for no fee up front, but Parts B, C, and D are either voluntary or need separate invoicing or a monthly subscription. It can rapidly become difficult. When comparing Medicare to restaurant lunch selections, Part A represents the bread, Part B represents the meat, Part C represents ordering a salad instead, and Part D is the optional dressing. Allow us to elaborate:
Part A of Medicare covers the basics of hospitals and home care. The Loaf
Consider Part A to be the bread, a necessary foundation on which to build your whole strategy. Inpatient hospitalisation, a semi-private room, nurse services, meals, and essential drugs are all included. In many cases, skilled nursing institutions and home care are also covered. Physical therapy and medical social services are common examples of home healthcare advantages.
The Meat of Medicare Part B – Prevention, Outpatient Care, and Supplies
Part B, the meat, is available to anybody who is eligible for Medicare Part A. Part B of Medicare works in tandem with Part A to provide coverage similar to that of a traditional health insurance plan. Ambulance services, outpatient care, preventive services, and medical equipment prescribed by a doctor are all covered. Rehabilitative services and intermittent home health care are also covered. Part B differs from the others in that you must join and pay a monthly premium, which is usually deducted from your Social Security income. Even if you don't qualify for Part A, you may be eligible for Part B if you meet specific criteria.
Advantage Plans under Medicare Part C - A Healthy Substitute for Parts A and B
Medicare Advantage plans are commonly referred to as Medicare Part C plans. When it comes to your total coverage, this is where you get to make a lot more choices. Part C is similar to getting a huge salad with a variety of toppings rather than a sandwich. Part C of Medicare covers the same things as Parts A and B combined, but it adds coverage for vision, dentistry, and a broader selection of prescription medications. Private insurance companies oversee Medicare Part C, and most plans are administered through PPOs or HMOs. Medicare Advantage plans can be beneficial since they have a maximum yearly out-of-pocket spending cap, which Medicare Parts A and B do not.
The Dressing – Part D – Extra Prescription Coverage
Medicare Part D simply covers prescription medications not covered by Parts A and B of Medicare. Part D is optional, however it is extremely helpful for anyone who is taking a certain drug. There are two options for enrolling in Part D. One option is to buy a Medicare Advantage plan that includes both Parts A and B. The second option is to join a Part D prescription drug plan that is appropriate for your location. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan that covers Parts A and B, you can add Part D through your Medicare Advantage plan's insurance carrier.
Coverage and Supplement Plans Are Changing
Each year during Open Enrollment, you must choose between enrolling in parts A+B through the federal government or purchasing part C, an Advantage Plan, from a commercial insurance firm. You can then decide whether Part D is required.
If you aren't enrolling for the first time this year, you may be considering quitting Medicare or switching from a private plan to Medicare. You can do so by contacting the private insurance company from which you're switching, and they'll take care of the paperwork for you. Medicare is a great benefit, but it seldom covers everything, which is why so many people choose to supplement their coverage with an Advantage Plan or Supplemental policy. Supplemental insurance not only covers expenses not covered by Medicare, but it also often limits the amount you could wind up spending. One of the most critical decisions you may make, especially after 65, is how you will pay for healthcare in the future.
What Happens If You Sleep From December 7th to December 8th?
You still have options if you miss open enrollment, but they may be limited. You can leave your Medicare Advantage plan and return to original Medicare from January 1 until March 31, 2020. You have until March 31, 2020 to enrol in a Part D prescription medication plan if you choose to do so. If you missed to sign up for Medicare when you initially became eligible, you have until March 31, 2020 to do so. However, you may have to pay a hefty fine. If you believe you are eligible for Medicare, don't put it off any longer. If required, set calendar reminders. Paying a penalty or waiting an extra year to change your healthcare plan is the last thing you want to do.
Do you have questions regarding Medicare Open Enrollment plans? Begin your search right now.