October 15, 2021
From October 15 – December 7 is Medicare’s open enrollment period. It permits people to change their plan. Here is some quick background:
Original Medicare – Parts A, B, and D
If you have original Medicare, you buy a Medigap plan to cover what Parts A and B do not, and Part D for prescription drugs.
The drug plan is easy to change annually. The Medigap plan not so much unless you are going to move from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Advantage – aka Part C Medicare
In this version, benefits are administered by private health insurance companies. It is, in essence, an HMO. An example is Senior Advantage offered by Kaiser.
It bundles all your coverage into one plan. You pay the HMO a premium. You continue to pay for Part B. You do not need to buy a Medigap or Part D (drug) plan.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 42% of people selected Medicare Advantage plans, up from 24% 10 years ago.
There is no underwriting when you initially select your plans at age 65. However, if you are already on a Medicare Advantage plan and want to switch to Original Medicare, you will need to go through underwriting. So, while technically you can move from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare, you will need to qualify.
For investment clients of Financial Connections, we have a Medicare consultant to assist you annually or when you turn 65 to help select your plans.