The open enrolment period for Medicare plans has started since October 15thand will continue through December 7th. This is the time to purchase new Medicare Advantage plans, Medigap plans or Prescription Part D plans. This is also the time to switch to other plans or discontinue your existing plans.Changes can be made to your current Part D or Medicare Advantage plans.
Every year insurance companies bring some changes to their existing plans – coverage may change, deductibles or coinsurance percentages may change or new regulations could be added. Hence it is important to keep track of the changes that may happen to your current plan and based on that you may have to decide whether you want to keep your plan or look for a change. A good plan this year may not remain so good next year.
Points to Consider Before a Change
These are some of the points you should keep in mind towards the end of the year so that you can take advantage of the alterations with the insurance plans during the open enrolment period.
- Take notice of the Annual Notice of Change issued by your insurance company during end of September. This will tell you how your plan will change in 2018. Co-pay amounts, network of providers, prescription drug related regulations – these are the kind of things you have to look out for.
- Go through the details of Medicare plans for the new year. You can get a good estimate about the costs of a particular plan for yourself by getting a quote or through the Medicare website.This will make it easier to compare the plans and decide which plan to zero-in on if you are buying new or which will be a better alternative to your current plan.
- Don’t always focus on the monthly premiums only. Low premiums could mean higher deductibles. So, you have to compare all the costs associated with the plans.
- Take the help of the state insurance department for understanding the complete details of the plans. It is easy to get confused with the numerous terms and conditions or miss out on some fine-print.
- Compare the additional benefits included with Medicare Advantage plans which are not there with Original Medicare plans.
- See if you save some money and get better deals if you and your spouse take separate Medicare plans based on your individual medical needs.
Some Predictions for 2018 Medicare Plans
- The average premium for a basic Part D plan would be about $33.50 in 2018 which is slightly less than what it is this year.
- Part D deductible amount would be about $405 in 2018
- The prescription drug coverage ‘dough nut hole’ limits would shift by $50 in both ways, that is, the starting amount and ending amount of the gap.
- The out-of-pocket amount is expected to decrease for Part D plans
- Brand name drugs will get a discount of 65% and generic drugs will get a discount of 56%.