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November 06, 2019

Common Medicare Open Enrollment Mistakes to Avoid

Medicare open enrollment runs until Dec. 7, and while you may not want to change your plan, neglecting to make sure it still meets your needs could cost you. You may be hit with a higher copay or an out-of-pocket expense.

As a refresher, during the open enrollment period, you can:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to an Advantage plan
  • Switch from an Advantage plan to Original Medicare
  • Move from one Advantage plan to another
  • Purchase a prescription drug plan or move from one plan to another

Remember, the open enrollment time frame does not apply to Medigap plans, which adhere to separate requirements.

Here are common Medicare open enrollment mistakes to avoid.

Not Doing Anything

Even if you liked your plan this year, there’s no guarantee it will meet your needs in 2020. Specifics of plans can vary from plan to plan, year to year and even county to county. Changes from insurers can impact anything from deductibles to covered services, copays and participating doctors and hospitals, so be sure to look over your current plan and make sure it will cover what you need going forward.

Not Exploring Part D Options

Part D premiums and what drugs are covered under each plan can change yearly. A change in plan formularies — the amount you pay for your medications — could result in poor coverage for drugs you regularly take.

If your prescriptions have changed, you may find a less expensive option with a different Part D plan. Medicare’s Plan Finder tool can help you find and compare Part D plans.

Choosing the Same Plan as a Spouse or Friend

It’s natural to seek out and accept recommendations from friends and family, and while it may seem overwhelming to compare plans, choosing the same plan as a friend or your spouse isn’t a wise idea. Just like your spouse or friend’s health is unique to them, your health is unique to you, and the plan your friend or spouse chooses may not meet your needs.

Not Switching Plans to Keep Your Doctors

If you have an Advantage plan or Part D, you’ll find that unlike original Medicare, you’re subject to local network restrictions much like other private insurance. If you like your doctors or want to see a doctor that’s out of network, consider evaluating your current plan.

Whether you’re switching plans or would like to keep your current plan, comparing options during open enrollment ensures you aren’t left with higher costs or unexpected changes.

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