Medicare Advantage Plan Open Enrollment
Tis the season. The season for Medicare Advantage General Enrollment that is. That’s right, general enrollment for Medicare Advantage Plans is almost upon us. So, if you are a current Medicare Advantage Plan member and are unhappy with your Medicare Advantage Plan, or if you simply want to learn more about Medicare Advantage Plans, pay close attention to this article.
You might be asking what general enrollment is and how is it different from open enrollment? If so, here is the answer as it relates to Medicare Advantage Plans. Open enrollment is a period where anyone with Medicare can join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan. General enrollment for Medicare Advantage Plans is for individuals who already have Medicare Advantage Plans. During general enrollment, individuals with Medicare Advantage Plans can switch to another plan or drop their Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Medicare Parts A and B (also known as Original Medicare). However, you cannot join a Medicare Advantage Plan for the first time during general enrollment.
What exactly are Medicare Advantage Plans? Medicare Advantage Plans are another way of getting your Medicare Part A and B coverage. They are often referred to as Medicare Part C plans. Medicare Advantage Plans are offered by Medicare-approved private insurers that follow rules set by Medicare. This means that if you sign up for a Medicare Advantage Plan, you still have Medicare. However, you should still keep your Medicare card in a safe place. You may need it someday if you decide to go back to Original Medicare.
How are Medicare Advantage Plans different than Medicare Part A and B coverage? Medicare Advantage Plans are different in that they often offer coverage for things above and beyond what is included in Medicare Parts A and B. Some items covered by Medicare Advantage Plans include certain vision, hearing, and dental expenses. Medicare Advantage Plans also usually cover Part D prescription drug costs. Some even cover items such as transportation to and from doctors’ offices and the cost of over-the-counter medications. Medicare Advantage Plans also have a yearly limit on out-of-pocket costs for services ordinarily covered by Medicare Parts A and B.
With all these added benefits, why isn’t everyone enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan? The answer is cost, rules, and availability. Medicare Advantage Plans come with varying out of pocket costs, which depend on the plan and the type of coverage you seek. For example, some Medicare Advantage Plans require a premium over and above your Medicare Part B premium. Medicare Advantage Plans also have different rules, such as sometimes requiring a referral to seek a specialist. Medicare Advantage Plans also aren’t available in some rural areas.
Are you unhappy with your Medicare Advantage Plan? If so, general enrollment begins on January 1 and ends on March 31. Are you interested in applying for a Medicare Advantage Plan for the first time? If so, you still have time to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan. Open enrollment for all Medicare programs is ongoing until December 7. Do you need assistance applying for or switching your Medicare Advantage Plan? If so, call Benefits in Action at 720-221-8354 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our experienced Medicare counselors can help you with your Medicare related needs.
Submitted by Eric Gonzalez, Benefits in Action