Healthcare

The Annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period Ends March 31st. Here’s What You Should Know.

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by Alli Thomas

Jan 21, 2020

The annual open enrollment for original Medicare ended in December 2019.

 

But, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, open enrollment started on January 1, 2020 and will run through March 31, 2020.

 

Here are answers to some common questions about Medicare Advantage open enrollment.

 

What’s the Difference Between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Advantage plans cover things that original Medicare doesn’t, like dental, vision and hearing benefits. These plans also cap annual out-of-pocket spending.

 


What Can I Do During Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment?

 

  1. Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and sign up for original Medicare. If you do this, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Part A and Part B. You may also choose to enroll in Part D (which covers prescriptions).
  2. Change your current Medicare Advantage Plan to a different one. You may choose one that offers prescription drug coverage (a MA-PD plan), or one that doesn’t.

 

What Can I Not Do During Open Enrollment?

 

  1. Enroll in a Part D plan.
  2. Change your existing Part D plan.
  3. Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

 

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If I Drop My Medicare Advantage Plan, Is There Anything Else I Need to Consider?

Many experts advise that you obtain a Medigap policy if you disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan. Medigap is a type of supplemental insurance that limits your out-of-pocket healthcare costs.

 

Be aware, though, that unless you live in New York, Connecticut, Maine or Massachusetts, you may be subject to medical underwriting. That means that you may not be able to obtain Medigap insurance if you have certain pre-existing medical conditions…or you may pay higher premiums for it.

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Why Should I Consider Changing Medicare Advantage Plans?

Some plans now offer more benefits for participants, such as home meal delivery, transportation services to and from doctor appointments and pharmacies, gym memberships, home safety features (think shower grab bars), air purifiers to help with breathing problems, and more.

 

These new benefits will also not going to cost you any extra money.

 


How Do I Change My Medicare Advantage Plan?

Contact the plan you want to switch to and enroll in it. You’ll be automatically dropped from your existing plan when you enroll in the new plan, and coverage will start on the first day of the month following your enrollment.

 

How Do I Switch From Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare?

Call Medicare to make the change, then sign up for Part D. If you need Medigap coverage, start the ball rolling on that BEFORE you make the switch from your current Medicare Advantage plan.

 

What Happens if I Don’t Qualify for Medigap?

Look into other Medicare Advantage plans options. If you drop your Medicare Advantage plan for original Medicare, but can’t get Medigap insurance, your medical expenses could potentially kill your budget.

 

Healthcare costs can take a big chunk out of your nest egg. Fidelity Investments estimates that the average 65-year old couple who retired in 2019 will spend $285,000 throughout retirement on healthcare…and that doesn’t include long-term care! That’s why you need to be sure you have the best Medicare coverage for your situation.

 

If you’d you’re not sure if a Medicare Advantage plan is right for you or if you should switch to a different plan, one of our financial advisors can help. Click here to set up a no-cost, no-pressure appointment.

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Alli Thomas

Alli Thomas has worked in the financial services industry for nearly 20 years, with a focus on retirement-related investing. She began her career as a FINRA-licensed participant-services call-center associate at Vanguard, and then moved to Principal Financial Group, where she worked closely with employers, assisting with retirement plan set-up and design, selecting appropriate plan investment offerings, and maximizing employee participation through targeted education campaigns and enrollment meetings. Alli has also worked as a qualified 401(k) administrator and registered investment advisor for several small investment firms. She now writes about all things investment- and finance-related, leveraging her extensive experience and passion for retirement planning to help investors make well-informed financial decisions.

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