Healthcare

What You Need to Know About Medicare Open Enrollment

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by Alli Thomas

Oct 7, 2019

Eligible for Medicare? For 2020 coverage, the open enrollment period for Medicare begins next week and runs through December 7, 2019.

During this time, you may:

  1. Switch from Original Medicare (Parts A and B) to Medicare Advantage—or vice versa.
  2. Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
  3. Add or switch a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D)

What’s new for the 2020 plan year?

  1. Medigap Plan C and Plan F are no longer available to newly-eligible Medicare beneficiaries. However, if you become eligible before January 1, 2020, you can still apply for these two plans now and down the road.
  2. The coverage gap for Medicare Part D (prescriptions) will cease. Beneficiaries will only pay 25% of prescription costs in this gap.

What if I’m happy with my plan the way it is?

Then there’s no need to make any changes to your Medicare coverage during open enrollment.

It’s recommended that, even if you like your current plan, you make sure you open any Medicare-related mail you receive. There are two reasons for this:

  1. You need to know if your plan is discontinued so you don’t lose coverage.
  2. You should review the annual notice of change from your provider and make sure your coverage still fits your needs.

I want to change my plan—but I missed open enrollment. Do I have to wait until next year?

It depends. If you have Medicare Advantage, you can change to a different plan (either another Medicare Advantage plan or to Original Medicare) between January 1 and March 31 each year.

However, if you have Original Medicare and want to change plans, you’ll have to wait until next year’s open enrollment period.

Overwhelmed and not sure what your best Medicare option is? One of the most important things your advisor should be discussing with you is healthcare planning. Working with a financial advisor can help you avoid making mistakes when it comes to choosing your Medicare plan.

If you don’t have a financial advisor (or if you’d like a second opinion for free), click here to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.

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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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