Next week, the open enrollment period for Medicare opens. We’ve created a primer to help you make smart decisions based on your needs and your budget. If you need assistance with enrollment, we help you there, too.
What is it?
Medicare plans can change yearly. Costs and coverage can change. The network of healthcare providers and pharmacies can change. Medicare recipients have an opportunity to change plans during the open enrollment period.
When is it?
The Medicare open enrollment period is Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. The plans themselves are effective Jan. 1 of the following year.
How do I know if I need to change plans?
Your plan will send you documents called “Evidence of Coverage” and “Annual Notice of Change.” Review them to see what changes might affect you. Is your doctor still in the network? Are your drugs still covered? Are you facing a new health condition that might require additional or different coverage in 2018? Has your healthcare budget changed?
Where can I find information on the 2018 plans?
Call toll-free 800-MEDICARE or go to Medicare.gov, which has a Plan Finder to compare coverage and costs. In Kentucky for 2018, 56 Medicare Advantage and 24 Medicare prescription drug plans are available.
What are all these parts to Medicare?
- Part A: Care and services received as an inpatient at a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
- Part B: Doctor visits, care and services received as an outpatient, as well as some preventive care.
- Part C: Medicare Advantage plans combine parts A and B and often include Part D drug coverage – all in one plan.
- Part D: Prescription drugs.
Where can I get help if I’m confused or have questions?
Schedule an individual appointment with a counselor through the State Health Insurance Assistance Program. ElderServe has SHIP counseling available at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at our Senior Center, 631 S. 28th St. If you’d like to schedule an appointment, please call Lisa Smith at 502.587.8673 or 502.778.7418.