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Open Enrollment is the period between October 15-December 7 when you can switch your health insurance plan.

We encourage our clients to consider their plans even if they have been satisfied over the past year.  Sometimes providers change or the prescription formulary changes.  If your plan changes and you have not done your research, you may have to switch providers or pay out of pocket for prescriptions that are no longer covered.  You should carefully review your plan’s “Annual Notice of Changes.”  We also recommend entering your information into Medicare Webpage in order to compare available plans.

While everyone’s situation is different, in general, we recommend that our aging clients stay in a traditional Medicare and obtain a supplement rather than doing an enrollment in a  Medicare Advantage Plan.

Medicare Advantage plans are inexpensive however when our clients have substantial needs such as rehabilitation in a skilled care facility, they have often found that the facilities who take the plans are more limited or that time that services will be provided is limited.  Some of our clients have decided to drop their advantage programs when in a skilled nursing facility in order to obtain needed care.  This is possible, even if not during open enrollment.  However, while those individuals can switch from the Advantage plan to traditional medicare, they will not be able to obtain a supplement at that time (because of their recent hospitalization).  Therefore, they will have to pay 20% of the charges out of pocket, after day 20.

Scammers often use the Open Enrollment Period to obtain personal financial information from Medicare beneficiaries.  This problem is particularly bad this year with the Medicare cards changing.  The Medicare cards have been changed to eliminate the use of the beneficiary’s social security number.  However, scammers have been calling Medicare beneficiaries, claiming to be Medicare, saying that they need to link the person’s social security number to the new card.  Medicare does not make these kind of calls.  You should call Medicare if you think you have been a victim of fraud or identity theft.

During this enrollment period, you may enroll in Medicare Part D, for prescription drugs, or switch to a different Part D plan.  In addition, during this period, you can return to traditional Medicare (Parts A and B) from a Medicare Advantage Plan.