Many people think enrolling in Medicare is a one-time decision. In fact, more than half (57%) of Medicare beneficiaries do not review or compare coverage options annually, according to a 2020 Kaiser Family Foundation study. However, due to possible changes in your Medicare plan, or in your own life, you may want to revisit your Medicare choices to make sure your plan meets your needs and is priced competitively.
What if your plan changes its coverage?
Even if nothing has changed in your life, your current Medicare plan may no longer be right for you – because Medicare plans can change year to year. It's especially important to review Medicare Advantage and Part D plans annually. Watch for these possible changes:
- Monthly premiums relative to the cost of comparable options
- Out-of-network moves by your preferred doctor or hospital system (for Advantage plans)
- Changes to the coverage of your medications (for any prescription drug plan)
What if your medical needs have changed?
If you have experienced an illness or a condition that may require more extensive coverage, or if you anticipate events such as a surgery or changes in your prescription drug needs, you’ll want to look at your Medicare-related options.
Keep in mind, though, that a long-term nursing home stay or the services of a home health aide (either of which can be caused by mental or physical decline) are typically outside any Medicare plan’s reach. And these types of long-term care expenses can be significant. Your financial advisor can suggest ways to protect yourself – and your family – from these costs.
You can compare costs and benefits of different Medicare plans by visiting www.Medicare.gov/plan-compare. This site also estimates out-of-pocket costs and provides quality ratings from members of current plans. Also, each state has a State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to help individuals and families understand Medicare coverage and options.
In any case, though, don’t hesitate to review your Medicare coverage. The open enrollment period for making changes runs from October 15 through December 7 this year. Make sure you’ve got the Medicare plan that meets your needs.