Medicare Open Enrollment Starts Today: What You Need to Know

Happy doctor talking to senior male patient while being in a home visit.
Drazen Zigic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Open enrollment for Medicare, the health insurance for people 65 or older, starts today and ends Dec. 7. You are eligible to sign up for Medicare three months before you turn 65.

See: Senior Savings: How Exploring Medicare Options Cuts Costs During Open Enrollment
Find: 6 Important Things Many Americans Don’t Know About the Cost of Medicare

“#MedicareOE starts tomorrow! It’s your opportunity to compare 2022 plans and choose what’s best for you. You may even find a less expensive plan to meet your needs! Preview plans available in your area at https://go.cms.gov/3axyzsf,” Medicare.gov tweeted.

Open enrollment is the time to either review and make changes to your plan, or sign up.

What’s the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage?

Original Medicare is managed by the federal government and offers coverage for hospital services (Part A) and outpatient services, such as primary-care doctors, specialists, and routine care (Part B), the Philadelphia Inquirer says.

Make Your Money Work for You

As for Medicare Advantage plans, they are run by private insurance companies approved by the federal government. These managed-care plans must cover all the same benefits as original Medicare (though you’ll be limited to their provider networks) but may offer extras, such as dental, vision, or hearing services. Medicare Advantage plans also typically include prescription medication coverage.

Don’t Overlook Your Drug Plan

People who opt for original Medicare can buy supplemental plans to help cover more healthcare costs or a Part D drug plan for medications.

One factor to pay attention to is that the list of covered medications varies by plan and will change every year, so it is important to make sure the plan you have is still the best fit for the upcoming year, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Formularies rank medications into tiers, with lower-tier drugs the preferred and least-expensive options. Higher-tier versions of the same medication will cost more. Health plans frequently switch their preferred choices, and may even drop medications from the formulary. Even if your drugs are still on the formulary, the plan may have changed how they’re covered,” The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

See: What Are Some Common Misconceptions About Medicare?
Find: 10 Companies That Offer Health Insurance to Part-Time Employees

Make Your Money Work for You

Medicare.gov recommends that you carefully review your current Medicare coverage and note any upcoming changes to your costs or benefits. Decide if your current Medicare coverage will meet your needs for the year ahead. If you like your current coverage, and it’s still available for 2022, you don’t need to take any action to keep it.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a former full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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