The annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period starts Friday, October 15, 2021. For those currently enrolled in Medicare, this is the time to make changes to your plan.
We recommend you review your Medicare coverage now to see if it still fits your healthcare needs for the coming year. Any changes you make will be effective beginning on January 1, 2022.
In addition to deciding whether to change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can make changes to your Medigap policy and Part D Prescription Drug plan. If you have Medicare but have never enrolled in a Medigap plan or Prescription Drug plan, you can enroll at this time as well.
One of the key items you should review is whether the prescription medications you use will continue to be covered under your Prescription Drug Plan. You should review the plan’s formulary, which is a list of the drugs covered under your specific plan. This information can be found on the insurer’s website, but we recommend contacting the insurance company and confirming if the drug will be covered.
There is also the question of when Medicare Part D can be opted out of. Howard Hook answered this question for the New York Post in this article – When can Medicare Part D be opted out of? Hook shared that if you are 65 years old and still covered by an employer’s health coverage, you do not have to enroll in Part D. But the coverage you are replacing Part D with must be credible or Medicare will assess a penalty. That penalty is equal to the number of months you did not have Part D or credible coverage multiplied by 1% of the “National Base Beneficiary” monthly premium.
For those already enrolled in a Medicare plan, you should have received an Evidence of Coverage (EOC) and an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) in September. These documents spell out the coverage you have, as well as any changes that are being made to the coverage, costs, or service area provided under your current plan. Review these changes carefully, as these documents will help you decide whether a change is needed. Also note that marketing materials from insurance companies may be mailed to you. However, be wary of anyone contacting you directly, as these companies are not allowed to call or come to your home without initiation by you.
Open enrollment ends on December 7, 2021, so don’t wait until the last minute to review your Medicare plan and make changes. A good resource to look at is the Medicare.gov website and in particular, this blog post from their website, Get Ready for Medicare’s Open Enrollment.