Health Insurance Enrollment for Medicare—Clarified

The upcoming Medicare open enrollment period is easy to navigate if you understand what to expect. Here is some key information to help you get the health insurance you need. 

The Medicare open enrollment period runs October 15th through December 7th. Those are very important dates to remember, but it’s most important to remember when the enrollment period ends. If you need to make a change to your health insurance plan, it must be completed by midnight on December 7, 2022. Once it’s finalized, your plan changes will be effective January 1, 2023.

Why Does Medicare Have an Enrollment Period?

What’s significant about the open enrollment period is the government created it for Medicare beneficiaries, but also for the insurance industry. The insurance industry gets to change all of their policies every year. They get to change the key terms of your coverage in order to suit their own needs. This means they may change your insurance plan’s:

  • Copays
  • Deductibles
  • Premiums
  • Prescription drug formularies.

If you don’t take the time to look over your plan carefully during the open enrollment period, you may not realize that some of those key terms have changed from last year until it’s too late to find a better plan for your needs.

How Can the Enrollment Period Benefit Me?

Because the insurance industry gets to change every January 1st, you (as a Medicare beneficiary) also get to change your insurance every January 1st. This is beneficial to you not only because your insurance plan will change, but also because your personal needs may have changed from the previous year.

You might want to change insurance due to changes in your health, your utilization, your doctors, or other factors. That’s why it’s very important that a Medicare beneficiary reviews their life circumstances during that time to see what they need for the coming year.

What to Know About Changing Your Medicare Plan

Here are a few significant points to remember about changing your Medicare insurance plan:

  1. Your Medicare plan is for the coming year, the year 2023. You may think, “My plan works great. I like it.” And that’s wonderful! However, that doesn’t mean it fits for you next year. The insurance company will change your Medicare plan, which is why it’s important to know what those changes will be. Find out what those changes mean for you and see if there’s any option that makes better sense. Do this early so you can make the changes you need to make before December 7th when the enrollment period ends.

  2. If you are on a regular Medicare plan or a supplement plan, the insurance company should not change those plans very much. But your Part D, the prescription drug coverage, changes significantly every year. You should definitely review your Part D to ensure that any prescription medication you need next year will still be covered by your plan. And if it isn’t, new Part D plan options come along all the time, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs during the open enrollment period.

  3. If you’re on a Medicare Advantage Plan, the St. Louis area currently has seven different plans available, and they will not change to the negative. Medicare Advantage is enhancing benefits every year, particularly in the field of dental coverage. You may still want to review those plans to understand your benefits and make any necessary changes within those plans during the open enrollment period.

Special Note for Medicare Advantage Plan Members

There is one more important fact of which you should take note: If you are on a Medicare Advantage Plan and you wish to go back to Medicare, both Medicare and Part D will accept you back. The Medicare supplement, however, does not have to take you, and you will need to go through medical underwriting to get that approved.

Contact MBhealth for Assistance with Medicare Enrollment

When it comes to Medicare, there are various options and it can get confusing. If you need help with Medicare open enrollment, MBhealth Insurance Agency is available. You can call or text us at 314-544-5400, or visit our contact page. We’d be happy to meet with you to review what you have and what is coming, and we can help you make any changes you need if you need them. 

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