Medicare Open Enrollment Starts in October

Medicare Open Enrollment is rapidly approaching, meaning it’s time once again to review your current coverage or enroll in a plan for next year.

Whether or not you intend to make any changes this year, it’s important to take this time to review your circumstances, take note of any changes made to your plan, and determine whether the coverage you’ve selected is still the best option for you.

Whether or not you intend to make any changes this year, it’s important to take this time to review your circumstances, take note of any changes made to your plan, and determine whether the coverage you’ve selected is still the best option for you.

The Medicare Open Enrollment period for 2018 coverage is from October 15 through December 7. It is during this time that you may switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, or vice versa, switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another, enroll in a Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan, (with or without a Medicare Supplement) or make changes to your current Part D plan. This is also the time to review your Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap), if applicable.

There can be a lot of confusion surrounding the coverage options for seniors, which is why it’s important to take this time to do your research, and really understand what’s available to you.

What is Medicare?

Medicare itself has four parts. Part A is your hospital insurance, while Part B covers most doctor services, outpatient services and some preventative care, among other things. Part C is Medicare Advantage, which works as an alternative to a standard Medicare plan that may offer additional benefits. To be eligible for a Medicare Advantage plan, of which there are many, you must already be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, and live within your selected plan’s service area. Medicare Part D is an add-on specifically for prescription drug coverage, for those who do not select a Medicare Advantage plan.

Although your medical needs may be the same as in years past, the benefits and premiums of your chosen plan may have undergone changes. Because of this, it is important that you review and reassess your coverage options so as to not be caught off guard by unexpected costs after the open enrollment period has ended. While this isn’t the case for all plans, Medicare premiums overall are expected to increase in 2018. Taking the time to verify that your chosen plan is still the best option for you and that you understand any changes to your coverage can prevent a big headache later in the year.

Reviewing Your Plan

If you’ve reviewed all the available plans and still wish to maintain your current coverage, there is no need for you to take any action during open enrollment. If your plan is being discontinued and cannot be renewed, you will receive a notice informing you of this from your carrier prior to the open enrollment period, in which case you can select a new plan to suit your needs.

Information for next year’s plans will be made available to the public in October, at which time you can take a look at the many coverage options and select the plan that is best for you. All changes made will take effect on January 1, 2018.

For more information or for the name of a medicare specialist to review your options, please call Deborah at 410-977-3718.

Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Deborah Bakalich, Certified Senior Advisor®
Owner, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA®) & Assisted Living Placement Specialist - Senior Care Lifestyles, LLC provides compassion, guidance and recommendations to families faced with transitioning a loved one into Assisted Living, Dementia/Alzheimer’s Care, Skilled Nursing, Temporary Respite Care or a Continuous Care Retirement Community. Senior Care Lifestyles was founded in 2014 by Deborah Bakalich, a Certified Senior Advisor and graduate from both Towson University and Stevenson. Senior Care Lifestyles is uniquely positioned as a local (not National) Maryland based placement firm familiar with Maryland senior care facilities and in-state financial assistance programs for senior residents. They meet personally with each family to understand the seniors care needs including medical, personal lifestyle preferences, budget, religion and desired geographic location. They pride themselves in locally guiding and educating families through the entire maze of senior living options available and will schedule tours on behalf of the family and accompany the family on visits of communities. They are passionate and committed to finding the perfect match to call home and stays with the family throughout the entire process, every step of the way, until a decision is made, and the senior is safely moved into their new home. Senior Care Lifestyles can also provide the family with trustworthy, vetted, and reputable experts to assist with the transition for organizing, packing, moving, sale of real estate, estate planning, legal services, and determining eligibility for State, Federal and Veterans Benefits to assist with care costs. Deborah is a proud member of the Maryland Senior Resource Network (MSRN) where she has served as Vice President on the Board of Directors. She is a member of the Alzheimer’s Organization, Society of Certified Senior Advisors, Mid-Atlantic Network Group and a member of the Business Opportunity Network (BON).

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