It’s that time of year again….Medicare Open Enrollment begins October 15th and runs through December 7th. What are the things you need to know?
Medicare Open Enrollment gives those who receive Medicare coverage the opportunity to change their plan. This is a great time to have your current plan reviewed if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C plan) or a standalone Part D plan. You will receive an Annual Notice of Change and/or Evidence of Coverage for those types of plans.
Anyone who is on a Part C plan should be careful not to fall for Medicare scams. For instance, Medicare will never call your or email you with product offers. If someone calls asking for your Medicare number – hang up. Your Medicare number should be safeguarded and most certainly should not be given out over the phone. Also, no one should be calling your or visiting your home to endorse Medicare. This is illegal. If the person was not invited or set up an appointment – they are violating the law.
One way to know that you are dealing with the right people and getting the right information, is to contact Florida SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) through the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. SHINE is a free program which is run by the Area Agency on Aging in your area. They have trained volunteers who can provide you information regarding Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance questions and they provide one-on-one counseling. These services are free, unbiased and confidential.
If you are meeting with local enrollment agents in your area, here are some things to consider:
- Make sure your health care provider accepts the Medicare Advantage plan you are considering.
- In order to compare costs, you need to add up not only the monthly premiums, but co-payments, co-insurance and annual deductibles.
- It is not enough to make sure your medications are on the plan’s lists, but you should also look to see whether they restrict quantity limits or whether they require prior authorization. Just because your plan has a network pharmacy benefit, does not mean it is easy to access, so check that out, too. Finally, look at the prescription drug benefits of several plans to see if you can save money.
- Be aware that different plans have different caps on the maximum out-of-pocket limits, and these can change each year, so make sure to compare plans.
Again, if you need help comparing plans or figuring out other health insurance questions, you can contact SHINE and make arrangements for FREE one-on-one counseling. To reach SHINE, call 1-800-96-ELDER or 1-800-963-5337.
Would you like additional guidance from a knowledgable attorney? Schedule a complimentary phone consultation with Attorney Laurie Ohall by calling 813.438.8503 or online.