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5 tips to survive Medicare open enrollment

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    Navigating the Medicare world can be confusing. Carbon County officials want to help you get the answers you need. METROGRAPHICS

Published September 10. 2019 12:13PM

 

There are a few changes to Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment this year.

It’s more vital than ever to check what your plan will cover in 2020. Will it meet your health needs and budget? Will it cover the prescription drugs you need?

If not, it’s time to find a new plan.

Here are some tips from Carbon County Area Agency on Aging and the APPRISE program that will help you through the switch:

1. Don’t miss your deadline.

Part D and Medicare Advantage plan members can switch plans between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7.

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan and want to return to Original Medicare and a stand-alone Part D plan, you can do so from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14. This is the only exception.

2. Make sure your plan will be offered next year.

Medicare plans come and go. Be sure that your plan will be continuing in 2020.

If not, start your search early for a replacement.

3. If your plan will continue, check to see what it will cover next year.

Insurers can change plan benefits, provider networks, and what they charge you per month or at the doctor’s office.

They will send you an annual notice of change that tells you what’s new. Your annual notice of change will include:

• What you will pay in monthly premiums and annual deductibles

• What you will pay for doctor’s visits (co-pays or co-insurance)

• If your drugs will be covered and what you will pay out of pocket

• If your doctors will continue to accept your plan

• Which extra benefits will be covered, if any.

4. If you want to switch, do your research.

Don’t just pick a plan because the sales agent tells you it’s great, or because your neighbor has the same plan. You need to find the plan that is best for you.

Use the tools on www.Medicare.gov.

You can enter your drugs and the pharmacy you prefer.

The program will tell you what plans are right for you and compare the costs. And, enrollment is easy through the website.

5. Still having trouble? Get help from an APPRISE counselor.

If you need help figuring out which plan is right for you, give APPRISE a call.

Your local team at Carbon County Area Agency on Aging can be reached at 610-824-7830, ext. 223.

Their trained counselors will provide you with free, confidential advice and screen you for cost saving programs.

APPRISE is a free health insurance counseling program designed to help Pennsylvanians with Medicare.

Counselors are trained to answer your questions and provide you with objective, easy-to-understand information about Medicare, Medicare Supplemental Insurance (also known as Medigap), Medicaid and Medicare Advantage Plans.

 

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