The 2013 Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP) will begin on Oct. 15 and end on Dec. 7.
If you are on Medicare, the seven-and-a-half-week Open Enrollment Period is a good opportunity to reevaluate your current coverage and make any changes that seem appropriate.
You are not required to make any changes during this or any annual OEP, but it is important to recognize that the coverage that was right for you a year ago may not be right for you going into a new year. Some premiums may go up from year to year. Your medical situation and needs can change dramatically from one year to the next, and Open Enrollment is a great time to fine-tune your coverage to suit your present situation.
Options you will have during Open Enrollment include:
- Switching from Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) to a Medicare Advantage plan
- Switching from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare
- Switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
- Joining a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or changing from one drug plan to another
- Discontinuing Part D coverage
Key Points to Consider
Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C):
If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, there is no guarantee that your plan will be renewed next year. Your current plan’s sponsor has the option of changing your benefits or premiums, discontinuing service in your area, or simply not renewing your plan.
Fortunately, when your plan chooses one of those options, you should receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) by the end of September. If you receive or received an ANOC this year, it’s important to look it over carefully before deciding what action you should take during Open Enrollment. Your options may include continuing with your current plan if it’s possible and if all changes are acceptable to you; enrolling in a new Medicare Advantage plan (with or without drug coverage); or leaving Medicare Advantage and returning to Original Medicare.
Returning to Original Medicare will open up the option of enrolling in a Medicare supplement plan, which is designed to fill the gaps in Original Medicare while making it easy to budget healthcare costs.
Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D):
Participation in Part D is voluntary but highly recommended for people who have high prescription drug costs and no current prescription drug coverage. Medicare prescription drug plans pay for generic and brand name prescription drugs. During the Oct. 15-Dec. 7 Medicare Open Enrollment period, you will be able to join a prescription drug plan or change from one drug plan to another. You may also give up Part D coverage entirely, although in most cases that is not advisable.
For further information about Medicare Open Enrollment, refer to the Medicare.gov Tip Sheet. If you have any further questions, a licensed, bonded MedicareMall representative will be eager to answer them!
Are you planning to make changes during this year’s OEP? Please leave a comment below.
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