Get Ready for Medicare Open Enrollment

seniorwomanThe majority of Medicare’s 50 million recipients are seniors who rely on the program to cover their healthcare expenses in retirement. You may be happy with your Medicare coverage so far, or you may be wishing you had better insurance options. The good news is that once per year, from October 15 to December 7, you can make changes to your healthcare plan during Medicare Open Enrollment. Consider the following facts before making changes to your plan.

Medicare may not cover all of your healthcare needs. If you tend to be a very healthy person, with no chronic medical conditions, Medicare may cover everything you need right now. But if you are dealing with one or more health conditions – or it’s likely you will inherit such a condition due to genetics or lifestyle – Medicare may not cover everything you need. In this case you can add a Medicare Advantage plan, which offers more extensive coverage and may lower your out-of-pocket costs.

Consider Part D prescription coverage. Look carefully at your out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. In some cases, paying a Part D premium is worth the discount you’ll receive on your medications. If you don’t take many medications, you might not need Part D coverage yet – but remember to reconsider it during Medicare Open Enrollment each year.

Changes to your coverage begin January 1, 2015. Whatever changes you make during the Medicare Open Enrollment period will take effect on January 1 of next year. While no one has a crystal ball that can predict exact circumstances, it’s important to anticipate changes in medications or treatments you may need and make changes to your Medicare plan accordingly.

Talk to your doctor. If you’re due for certain procedures, or if you may need to change medications or initiate new medical treatments in the near future, your doctor is the best person to advise you of these impending changes.