The Medicare Open Enrollment Period for 2020 is now in effect, lasting from October 15th to December 7th, 2019. During this annual period, Medicare users can re-evaluate their current coverage to choose other plans or options. While basic Medicare is the default plan chosen by most, there are other plan options that may be more suitable for your medical and financial needs. This is also the time of year when eligible individuals can apply to obtain federally funded health insurance through the Medicare program. In this quick guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about Medicare Open Enrollment before you change your enrollment status.
Who is Eligible to Enroll?
Individuals who are over the age of 65 or those with medical disabilities can apply for Medicare coverage. You can find out more about who is eligible and how to enroll at Medicare.gov. If you are already a Medicare user, you can take advantage of the enrollment period to change or update your plan.
What Does Medicare Cover?
If you don’t have Medicare and this will be your first year enrolling in the program, you might be wondering how it works and what kind of medical expenses it covers. The program provides coverage in various parts. Part A covers services offered by hospitals, hospices, and in-home healthcare providers. Part B covers doctor’s appointments, preventative care, and outpatient services. Part D pays for prescription medications. Another option called Medicare Advantage, which is sometimes referred to as part C, bundles other types of insurance such as dental, vision, and travel insurance with your Medicare plan.
Changes to Medicare Coming in 2020
Before you decide to change plan or stick with what you have, it’s important to research the changes that are coming to Medicare this year, including adjustments to Medicare Advantage and Part D. Fortunately, the government is introducing a user-friendly online tool that will help to simplify the process of discovering and comparing the new options. Still, it is worthwhile to be aware of the fact that there will be new choices on the table before you skim past the renewal process without paying much attention to it.
Common Enrolment Mistakes to Avoid
In closing, now that you know what Open Enrollment is and what to watch out for, it’s good to have an understanding of the common mistakes made during enrollment so that you can avoid them yourself. Enrolling late is an easy mistake for a new Medicare user to make because the enrolment period starts about 7 months before your 65th birthday and ends about 3 months later, so you only have roughly 3 months to enroll after you turn 65. It’s important to take your time and consider your options when choosing Part D coverage, as making the wrong decision could lead to higher prescription drug costs. Finally, be sure to pay attention to new options that are introduced each year. For example, this year you may want to look into some of the new Part D and Medicare Advantage plan options.