This year, Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment begins in October and runs into the beginning of December. While you may know this is the health care coverage for most Florida seniors, did you know the annual Open Enrollment Period gives Medicare beneficiaries an opportunity to make alterations to their existing coverage selections to ensure they have the right coverage for them? These changes can include, but not be limited to, any of the following:

• Changes in the beneficiary’s health care needs,
• Changes to the provider network,
• Changes in provided benefits,
• Changes to premiums, deductibles, and overall costs,
• Changes to covered pharmacies and medications, and
• Changes to included hospitals.

We know you may have questions about where to start in your analysis of your Medicare coverage. Let us share a few key tips you can use as you intentionally review your Medicare coverage to ensure your plan can work the way you need it to next year.

1. Review your Annual Notice of Change letter. This Medicare letter should have arrived by mid-September and contains key information about your current plan. From coverage and changes to premiums updates and copay adjustments, this letter can help you evaluate your plan to make sure it works the way you need it to.

2. Review your medical expenses for the past year. Have they changed? Are they more or less than you expected? Is there a plan available in your community that would be a better fit? Do not forget to review the costs for all of your doctors, specialists, deductibles, and the prescription medications you need.

3. Determine if there is a better option for you available in your community. You may be surprised to learn there are different types of plans available. You may use the Medicare Plan Finder on the Medicare website to learn more about what is offered in our area. The Medicare Plan Finder is an online tool from the government to help you select a plan. After you enter your zip code and details about your medications, you can compare plans available in your area.

4. Choosing between “traditional” Medicare or change to Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage plans are an alternative to “traditional” Medicare. It is a type of Medicare health plan offered by a private company that contracts with Medicare to provide all of your Part A and Part B benefits. Further, most Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug coverage. Before switching to a Medicare Advantage plan, however, be sure to examine it closely and compare what could be a $0 premium with potentially hidden costs for the care you need.

Our office is here to act as a resource to you during open enrollment. Remember that finding the right Medicare plan for you is critical to both your overall estate planning and elder law planning goals. If you need help with either of these areas, or have questions, do not hesitate to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.