| Wed, Oct 16, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

Medicare Coverage to Fit Your Needs: Medicare Open Enrollment Boot Camp

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

medicare coverageThe fourth in a series of eight articles to help you make informed Medicare coverage decisions. Be sure to read our previous post on the two ways to get your Medicare benefits if you haven’t already.

The easiest thing to do during Medicare Open Enrollment may be to do nothing and keep the coverage you currently have. But is it the smartest? Only you can answer that question. To do that you may need to ask and answer a few other questions first.

Why Change Your Medicare Coverage?

There is nothing permanent except change.” This quote is attributed to Heraclitus, a philosopher in ancient Greece. It’s a notion that’s hard to argue with.

Changes in your health or in other areas of life may signal the need to change your Medicare coverage. That’s why Medicare Open Enrollment happens every year from October 15 through December 7. It gives you the chance to ask yourself:

  • What has changed that may affect my budget or my Medicare needs?
  • Should I consider changing my Medicare choices for the upcoming year?

Medicare itself can also change from year to year. There may be changes in what’s covered or in how much you will have to pay in premiums, deductibles or other out-of-pocket costs. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) or a standalone prescription drug plan (Part D), the plan may not be offered in your area anymore. Or it may have changed its coverage or costs.

So even if your health and your budget are basically the same this year as they were last year, it’s a good idea to consider your Medicare choices every year during Medicare Open Enrollment. It’s your chance to get the coverage that is a good fit for your needs.

Two Tools That May Help

Here are two tools that may help you decide whether to look further into your Medicare choices for 2014.

Medicare Needs Assessment: This is series of questions that touches on the main things to consider about your Medicare coverage needs. You may think of other questions as well. As you consider the questions and your answers, you may want to keep notes to refer to later or to discuss with your spouse or loved one.

Medicare Choices Worksheet: This is a worksheet that lets you match your needs to the benefits offered by the different parts of Medicare—Parts A and B, Part C and Part D—and Medicare supplement insurance. You can fill out the worksheet online and print it out for your reference.

If you haven’t started a Medicare file yet, this is a good time to do it. You will then have one place to keep all the Medicare materials you may be receiving in the mail, your notes about your needs and choices, and any other helpful information you gather during Medicare Open Enrollment.

Stay With Us!

View the next post in our weekly Boot Camp Series with information, tools and support to help you navigate Medicare Open Enrollment. Be prepared to make an informed decision about your Medicare coverage for 2014.

For more information, contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources:

Show Me Guide: Use this guide to help you understand your Medicare choices and find the plan that might be right for you.

Understanding Your Medicare Choices: Learn how you can customize your Medicare choices to fit your needs.

Medicare & You: Learn about Original Medicare coverage and costs in this annual publication.

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