Medicare Open Enrollment season is here once again. Advertisements and commercials about getting all the Medicare benefits that you are entitled to are popping up everywhere from the TV to your computer, and mailbox. So, what does this mean for you? Here is a quick guide to understanding the importance of Medicare open enrollment season.

What is Medicare Open Enrollment?

Medicare open enrollment is the period that starts October 15 and ends December 7 that will allow Medicare recipients to make changes to their original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan for the next year. It takes effect on January 1st. This is the time to review the changes coming to your current Medicare plan and decide if it’s time to change to a new one or stay with the existing one.

What You Can Do

During the open enrollment period, recipients can sign up for a new Medicare Advantage plan or switch to Original Medicare. For those who have Original Medicare already and want to switch to Medicare Advantage, this is the time to do it.

For people who already have original Medicare or who want to switch, Medigap insurance, the supplemental insurance plan that helps cover Medicare costs, is only available to purchase under certain circumstances. Understand what those circumstances are before making any changes to current coverage.

Know Your Options

Think of Medicare open enrollment like phone or internet service. From time to time, customers call in and update their service plan because it is cheaper and offers additional benefits. The same principle applies here. Check the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and/or Evidence of Coverage (EOC) Medicare sends out to find out what changes are being made in your existing plan.

Then check to see what other types of plans are available in the area. Some plans may offer lower costs and more coverage than the current plan offers. Enrolling in Part D drug coverage is another way to save on costs if it’s not part of the coverage.

Making Changes

Before making any changes, compare the current coverage to make sure there’s no need to change hospitals or doctors, especially if the new coverage is a Medicare Advantage plan.

For people planning to use their Medicare coverage for a planned hospital stay or an outpatient procedure in Orange County or Newport Beach, CA, consider using the discharge care service from Optimal Senior Care Solutions. Our care team can arrange for transportation to and from your medical appointment, pick up prescriptions, and provide post-procedure support. Contact us today!