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Are You Prepared For Medicare Open Enrollment?

September 7, 2019

If you are approaching the age of 65 or already an eligible beneficiary, open enrollment for 2020 Medicare health benefits starts soon. For new enrollees over 65 or turning 65 and don’t have medicare, you can sign up from October 15th to December 7th of this year. Existing enrollees will receive information including a notice of annual changes and evidence of coverage the beginning of October. Whether you are an existing or a new enrollee, it is better to prepare yourself for Medicare Open Enrollment. First, learn what Medicare means if you are a new enrollee, how to change existing plans, and how to get insurance coverage.

Medicare is a health insurance for individuals turning 65, or the age of 65 and older. People with a disability under 65 or end-stage renal disease are also eligible. The healthcare program offers Medicare Part A and Part B plans for hospital and medical insurance coverages.

The costs in premiums vary based on the net income of eligible enrollees. This year, the changes to Medicare applied to high income earners resulting in new and increased premiums for Part A and Part B. There was a small increase in Part B premiums for most plan participants. For an example, an enrollee with a net income of $499,999 pays $433.40 in monthly premiums, in 2019. If the income is over $500,000, monthly premium costs is $460.50.

Changing Existing Medicare Plans

The only time you can change your existing medicare plan is from October 15th, to December 7th. From October 1st to the 14th, you should have an Annual Notice of Change and Evidence of Coverage from your plan providers of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D. You can change healthcare and prescription drug coverage plans during the annual enrollment time frame mentioned above.

When you receive your Annual Notice of Change, make a note of any changes. If dissatisfied with your plan and you want to change your Medicare plans, do it before December 8th. An enrollee can switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare from January to the end of March in 2020.

People who didn’t enroll by December 2019 can sign up for Part A and Part B Medicare plans from January to March 31st. There are penalties of 10 percent of the yearly premiums you were eligible for and did not enroll in Medicare Part B. Part A is normally free for individuals or their spouses who contributed to Medicare taxes during employment, but there is a late enrollment penalty.

Qualifying for Medicare

New enrollees can sign up for Medicare benefits through Social Security Administration (SSA) if you are not receiving benefits. SSA will process your application after reviewing your information and let you know if you qualify for Medicare. You can sign up online or visit your local Social Security office.

Medicare Coverage Plan Options

The two medicare coverage plans are Original and Advantage. Original Medicare includes Part A and Part B plans which allows you to use any physician or hospital accepting Medicare. You have the options of getting drug coverage and a supplement insurance plan. For drug coverage, you will have to get Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.

If you need help with additional costs in the Original plan, Medigap is an option for supplemental insurance. To get full coverage, Medicare Advantage is the best solution for health insurance. It includes Part A, Part B, and/or Part D which provides extra benefits for dental, hearing and vision.

Now that October is approaching, you have time to prepare for Medicare open enrollment. If you are a new enrollee, learn more about enrollment and changes to Medicare visit Medicare Resources today.


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