Beneficiaries have until Dec. 7 to review coverage and make changes for 2019
Medicare’s annual eight-week open enrollment period begins today. Beneficiaries have until Dec. 7 to take stock of their current coverage and decide whether it meets their health care needs — and budget.
All the decisions made during open enrollment will take effect in January. If you don’t want to change your coverage, no action is required. But, with few exceptions, this is the one chance to change coverage during the year.
Parsing the different Medicare options can be daunting, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has added new features to its online enrollment process meant to make it easier. CMS is encouraging beneficiaries to set up a personalized account at MyMedicare.gov, which offers some easy-to-understand tools to help with decision-making. These include a new cost calculator and an online chat feature.
CMS just announced that the 2019 monthly premiums for Part B, which covers doctor visits, diagnostic tests and outpatient services, will be $135.50 in 2019 and the Part B annual deductible will be $185. The Part A deductible for hospital stays will be $1,364.
A good rule of thumb for open enrollment, says Leigh Purvis, director of health services research in AARP’s Public Policy Institute, is to look at the four C’s: cost (premiums and cost-sharing); coverage (are your current health care providers in network? Are your prescription drugs covered?); convenience (are in-network providers and/or the plan’s preferred pharmacies nearby?); and customer service (Medicare health and prescription drug plans are rated from poor to excellent on various aspects of customer service).
It can be tempting — and easier — for Medicare beneficiaries to simply stick with their current coverage, Purvis notes, but “there’s so much flux in terms of what plans are covering and how they’re covering it that we want to make sure people look at their options and change when it makes sense to do so.”
In fact, Medicare has made some important changes beneficiaries should consider this enrollment period.
Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018 at 9:00am
Wolcott Senior Center
Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018 at 9:00am
Bay State Medical
Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018 at 12:30pm
East Haddam Senior Center
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