October 30, 2017
Welcome to October and the beginning of Medicare Open Enrollment Season. It began on October 15 and extends through December 7. For Medicare recipients, it's that exciting time of year when you must review previous choices, assess your options, and make changes as needed.
OK, so maybe it's not all that exciting. But it is a time when you need to perform a necessary task for yourself or a Medicare recipient in your life, so that you can feel confident about your healthcare coverage in the year ahead.
In today's blog, I'll review the process and share some common misconceptions people have about Medicare.
First, let’s review the basics…
In terms of timing, Medicare Open Enrollment for 2018 began on October 15th and continues through December 7th. Changes are not implemented immediately. Instead, any change you make during Open Enrollment will become effective on January 1, 2018.
I’m already covered by Medicare, do I need to change anything?
Maybe not. But the only way to be sure is to devote some time and attention to the process. There are three primary areas which can necessitate a change in your coverage:
Which options are best for me?
Here in the United States we place a lot of emphasis on choice and in that respect, Medicare offers many. But it can be confusing, particularly for older adults.
Here are some questions to consider for yourself or to discuss with a loved one who you may be helping:
Once you’ve considered the questions above, ignore all the advertisements you see on television and all the mail you may be receiving about Medicare. Instead, go to the source—the Medicare website—to conduct an analysis of your options. (Click on “Find Drug and Health Plans” to get started.)
The site can be a bit cumbersome, but the tools are there for you to enter your zip code, your specific drugs at the appropriate dosages and quantities, and your preferred pharmacy. From there, you can sort through the options provided.
Common Misconceptions about Medicare
Finally, it’s important to be clear about a few of the most common Medicare misconceptions:
Although the topic of Medicare may not be the most exciting to you, I hope you realize that paying close attention during this open enrollment window is important, both for yourself and for anyone else you may care about who is on Medicare.
As with so many things related to our healthcare, it’s important to always be a savvy consumer. Education, analysis of your particular situation, and attention to detail are what will allow you to make sound decisions. Remember, you are in control of your choices!
Dianne Savastano is a Massachusetts-based healthcare professional and frequent keynote speaker for CIBC Atlantic Trust events. Over the course of her 25-year career, Dianne has worked in both the clinical and administrative sides of the healthcare industry and is the founder and principal of Healthassist, a personal healthcare consulting service. This post first appeared on healthassistcorp.com and is reprinted here with her permission. Portions of this post have been edited for consistency with CIBC Atlantic Trust’s style and usage guidelines.
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