Five important things to know for the 2019 Medicare Open Enrollment
By STEVE GULAS
- This year’s Medicare Open Enrollment is Oct 15-Dec 7. This is the time frame when you can enroll in or change Medicare Part D Drug Plans or Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans). Enrollment applications must be received by the insurance company during this time frame in order to change plans change plans for 2019.
- Medicare Supplement Plans are not part of the Medicare Open Enrollment. This means you can apply to change or to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan any time of the year. These plans, however, typically require you to be able to answer medical questions and meet the plans medical requirements in order to be approved for coverage. The exception to this is if you have a guaranteed issue situation that may apply to you. There are about 11 different Medicare Supplement Plans to choose from. Consider taking a look at pricing and compare different plans to make certain you have the supplement plan that you feel is the best value for you.
- Consider if enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan may be a better value for you? Many counties offer plans with little or $0 premium and these plans can offer a substantial premium savings alternative compared to purchasing a Medicare Supplement combined with a Part D drug plan. There are many things to consider if these type of plans would be a better value for you. Generally speaking, Medicare Advantage Plans can offer premium savings compared to purchasing a supplement plan with a Part D drug plan. Most Medicare Advantage Plans are network based plans such as HMO or PPO style. Be certain to carefully evaluate the provider network to make certain the medical providers you want to use are contracted with the plan and understand the out of pocket costs that you will pay for medical services and prescriptions drugs in the plan before enrolling.
- Evaluate your Part D drug plan. Most people are surprised to learn how many Medicare Part D drug plans there are to choose from. In 2018 there were 23 Medicare Part D Drug Plans to choose from in Ohio from many different companies and there are significant differences between these plans. Making certain you are in the plan that covers your drugs most cost effectively at the pharmacy you choose is important to look at each year. This can easily be done by entering your medications into the medicare.gov website. This is also a service we provide at no charge at Bolte Insurance Agency.
- Find an Independent Agent that is knowledgeable and represents multiple insurance companies offering Medicare plans in your area. OK … I am obviously biased on this as an independent agent that represents many Medicare plans and want to be right upfront on that, but hear me out on this one. Before picking a plan solely relying on the advice of an agent you called on an 800 number whom just represents one insurance company, I would highly recommend seeking out an agent who represents many Medicare Insurance companies. With there being over 250 combinations of ways to take your benefits between Medicare Supplements combined with Part D drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans, working with an agent whom has the broadest knowledge of plans I feel is a quality to look for in an agent that you can trust to help you find the Medicare plan that best matches your needs.
Contact Steve Gulas at Bolte Insurance, 419-732-3111, bolteinsurance.com.