We are approaching Medicare open enrollment and I thought it might be interesting to share a few of the comments I have heard this year. Check your answers against mine:
- My Medicare card will appear in the mail when I am eligible to enroll: NOT NECESSARILY. If you are currently receiving Social Security payments your card should arrive automatically, but those who are not currently taking that income generally do not receive their cards unsolicited. In either case, start checking the mail for your card 60-90 days before your eligibility date, but be prepared to be active in your enrollment.
- I need to make an appointment at the Social Security office to enroll in Medicare: NOT. You can enroll electronically at www.Medicare.gov and it should only take about 15 minutes.
- I can add Medicare part B online once I need to if my Medicare part A is already effective: NOT. Currently you will need to call 1-800-MEDICARE to add the additional coverage.
- I can enroll using the name I am currently using no matter what my name may have been in the past: NOT. Be very careful to enter your name exactly as it appears on your social security card. If it is spelled incorrectly enroll with the error and make the correction once your plan is in place.
- It does not matter whether I enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare supplement plan, I can change from one to the other during the Open Enrollment Period each fall : NOT. The open enrollment allows changes among Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D plans. Medicare supplement plans have their own set of enrollment and change rules.
- I should buy the most comprehensive Medicare Part D plan from the start whether I have any prescription use currently or not: MAYBE NOT. Since you can change among the various Medicare Part D plans every year at Open Enrollment you can select a plan that seems most appropriate right now and upgrade as you need to.
- Once I pick a drug plan I don’t need to check it again: NOT. The prescriptions we take can change each year, the drugs we are taking may move to a less attractive reimbursement level in our existing plans, or our drugs may be removed from the approved list of our existing plans. It is in all of our best interest to do the formulary search at www.Medicare.gov during the Open Enrollment Period each year to be sure that we are in the best plan possible at the best rate available.
- I should begin to prepare for my Medicare enrollment 90 days before my planned effective date so that I am able to make the best decisions possible. I should also check annually to see if my Medicare Part D plan is the most appropriate for me going into the New Year. I am able to research my options and make certain changes each year at Open Enrollment and I should exercise that opportunity: CORRECT. Medicare enrollment should not be taken lightly. There are a variety of options particularly if we are still working and errors made can be expensive over time and can be difficult to correct.
It is our responsibility to educate ourselves on the rules and the various options available within Medicare so that we can have the best protection possible at the most affordable price. Questions, Concerns? Contact us at Czajkowski Dumpel & Associates, Inc. –We are here to help!