Reaching the age of seniority means it’s almost time to consider retirement. During this period, seniors become eligible for a health care coverage plan called Medicare. Once you reach the age of 65, you’re eligible to start benefiting from this medical plan.
To know how you can get the most out of Medicare open enrollment, you must understand what it has to offer.
What is Medicare?
Medicare has four different parts that you can apply for during open enrollment periods:
Part A: Focuses on services or medications that are crucial for one’s health and well-being
Part B: Focuses on services or medications that treat a condition (including, flu shots).
Part C: A Medicare Advantage plan, which is usually supplemented by private companies that provide seniors with extra coverage. Seniors interested in signing up for this plan should consider all the different companies and what they offer.
Part D: Medicare Prescription Drug plans are individually based on seniors who require unique medications to treat a chronic or temporary condition. Seniors and caretakers should research these plans beforehand as they typically differ geographically.
NOTE: If you are a caretaker trying to assist a senior or loved one with signing up for Medicare benefits, make sure you fully educate them on each plan and how it may benefit them.
What is Open Enrollment?
Open enrollment refers to the 8-week period where seniors can opt to receive Medicare benefits or make changes to their previously enrolled plans. Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15th to December 7th each year. For Medicare Advantage, open enrollment runs from January to March.
Sometimes sticking with your current plan isn’t the best option; it’s important to follow these 4 steps before open enrollment to make sure you get the most out of your Medicare plan:
Explore: Look at all the different plans offered in your area. Familiarize yourself with each of their benefits even if you don’t have a chronic condition to treat. This familiarity may prove useful later during a different open enrollment period.
Investigate: This is the period where you narrow down the different plans you’re interested in. Investigate the local physicians your plan covers and all the different costs they may give you. Consider all the individual premium costs, copays, or uncovered expenses as this will give you an idea of the true cost of the plan.
Select: During the selection period you should have made your choice and registered appropriately during the open enrollment period. Even though you’ve made our choice, the process isn’t over.
Review: The review period is all about evaluating your chosen plan. Meet with your covered physicians and make sure they’re people you can trust to offer you medical advice and recommendations. More importantly, make sure you’re pleased with the quality of coverage when it comes to prescribed medications and medical expenses.
Medicare offers seniors peace of mind during retirement, when their income is no longer supported by a day-job. It may take a bit of homework, but by preparing yourself before the open enrollment period, you can make sure you get the most out of your chosen Medicare plans.