Medicare Open Enrollment Period Begins October 15, 2015 Now is a good time to review your current Medicare plan during this Open enrollment period. You may want to ask yourself some “What if” questions if you are currently receiving Medicare! The Medicare open enrollment period is the time during which people with Medicare can make new choices and pick plans that work best for them. Each year, Medicare plans typically change what they cost and cover. If you are receiving Medicare, now is a good time to review your current Medicare plan. Most people do not worry about their plan until they need to utilize medical, hospital, testing, or prescription drug services.
The Medicare open enrollment period begins on October 15 and runs through December 7. The open enrollment period is your opportunity to switch Medicare health and prescription drug plans to better suit your needs. During the open enrollment period, you can:
- Join a Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) Plan
- Switch from one Part D Prescription plan to another Part D prescription plan
- Drop your Part D coverage altogether
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare
- Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Supplement Plan.
- Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer prescription drug coverage
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does offer prescription drug coverage
What's new in 2015?
Most Part D plans have a temporary limit on what a particular plan will cover for prescription drugs. In 2015, this gap in coverage (also called the "donut hole") will begin after you and your drug plan have spent $2,960 on covered drugs. It is set to end after you have spent $4,700 out-of-pocket, after which catastrophic coverage begins. However, part of the Affordable Care Act gradually closes this gap by reducing your out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions purchased in the coverage gap. In 2015, you'll pay 45% of the cost for brand-name drugs in the coverage gap and 65% of the cost for generic drugs in the coverage gap. Each succeeding year, out-of-pocket prescription drug costs in the coverage gap will continue to decrease until 2020, when you'll pay 25% for covered brand-name and generic drugs in the gap.
Where can you get more information?
Determining what coverage you have now and comparing it to other Medicare plans can be confusing and complicated. Pay attention to notices you receive from Medicare and from your plan, and take advantage of help available by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or by visiting the Medicare website, www.medicare.gov. Your financial professional can also help you find the information you need to make decisions about Medicare.
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