What You Need to Know About the New Medicare Website and Open EnrollmentSubmitted by Reby Advisors | Certified Financial Planners | Danbury, CT on November 8th, 2019
By Dixon Downey, November 8, 2019
Medicare Open Enrollment began on October 15 and finishes December 7. During this period, seniors covered by Medicare who are 65 and older can change their prescription drug coverage and health plan for 2020.
The new Medicare website is very user-friendly and makes it relatively straightforward to identify the right plan for your needs.
For example, the prescription drugs you have used in the past 12 months are pre-loaded into your online Medicare account, making it simpler to select the appropriate Medicare Part D plan that provides the coverage you need. In the past, seniors had to manually enter the drugs for which they need coverage. The new website reduces the chances that you overlook a prescription, however, I wouldn’t mistake the upgrade as being foolproof. You still want to double check Medicare’s records and also make sure any prescriptions you anticipate needing or have a high probability of needing in the future will also be covered by the plan you select.
Factors to Consider in Selecting Medicare Coverage
Traditional Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage. In the past, most people have taken traditional Medicare but in recent years Medicare Advantage has become more attractive. Medicare Advantage (also called Medicare Part C), is private health insurance in lieu of traditional Medicare and can make sense in certain situations. However, you really have to do your homework before making this decision; if you are a Reby Advisors client, we are happy to advise you on this.
In general, Medicare Advantage is an option for healthy seniors. If you're not as healthy, stick with traditional Medicare.
Medigap Coverage. Standard Medicare covers 80% of costs, however, with healthcare costs as high as they are, most people need to insure against the risk that the remaining 20% will be too high to pay for out of pocket. Insert Medigap (also called Medicare Supplement Insurance), which is private insurance that fills the gap between what is covered and what you can afford to pay. Medicare.gov helps navigate your Medigap options and provides a clear, helpful description here: www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/whats-medicare-supplement-insurance-medigap/medigap-costs
Prescription Drug Coverage. Prescription drugs may be covered by a Medigap plan or by Medicare Part D. Medicare.gov allows you to browse your options either exclusively through a Medigap plan, or a combination of Part D and a Medigap plan. Go to the following web page to learn more about the laws and restrictions of using Medigap and Part D together: www.medicare.gov/supplements-other-insurance/whats-medicare-supplement-insurance-medigap/medigap-medicare-drug-coverage-part-d
Get Medicare Advice
Even if your health has not changed since last year, it’s still a good idea to go through the Medicare.gov website to ensure that coverage hasn’t changed.
If you need help or would like a second opinion on selecting the right options for you, reach out to your financial advisor. Step-by-step advice and guidance will likely save you time and give you more confidence in your decision.