When to Switch Medicare Plans
If you have a Medicare plan then you have a few months to make a change. Open enrolment for Medicare is from October 15 to December 7.
Within this period, you can switch from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa. You can also sign up for Medicare part D prescription drug coverage or change from that plan.
This is a very important part of the year for retirees especially since healthcare costs are predicted to rise significantly. A Mercer survey found that 43 percent of large employers believe healthcare costs next year will dwarf the amount companies have budgeted for.
However, according to a study by KFFA, a health policy non-profit organization, 7 out of 10 people who are enrolled in Medicare don’t compare Medicare plans during this period and that could be to their detriment.
Why change plans?
The reason that you should be looking at your Medicare plan each year is that much like the health insurance you receive from your employer, Medicare plans can have changes year on year.
It is important to check if your prescription prices have been affected or if any other treatments may have gone up. Experts recommend that if you are in original Medicare you should try and compare it with part D prescription drug coverage to see if there are any savings available to you.
If you have Medicare Advantage you can use Medicare Advantage open enrolment, which begins on January 1 and runs to March 31 every year. Use this time to either switch back to the original Medicare if that suits you or sign up for Medicare part D prescription drug assistance.
“Exercising control over what plans you have when it comes to your healthcare will benefit you in the long run, “ says Scott Mass senior vice president of David Lerner Associates, “If you can save money by getting a better deal by switching plans within the medical system it could make your retirement years a lot easier and you can free up some disposable income that you could be using elsewhere.”
If you don’t want to switch your plan you don’t have to do anything, your coverage should automatically renew. If you do want to change your plan, make sure you have all of your paperwork and any necessary information. You may have to make a phone call or two, but much of it can be done online.
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