The Medicare open enrollment period ends Monday, Dec. 7. What does it mean to you?
The Chronicle provides a simplified explanation. This is not meant to be a comprehensive review of options; you can find that online at medicare.gov.
There are three major parts to Medicare: Part A (hospital insurance), Part B (medical insurance for outpatient things), and Part D (prescription drugs).
An important thing to know is that if you’re already on Medicare and are satisfied with your coverage and your program, you don’t have to do anything.
The Dec 7 deadline is applicable only if you’re on Medicare and you’re not satisfied with your coverage and you need to make changes. Those changes can include coverage to help pay what Medicare doesn’t cover, often called a Medigap plan, adding prescription drug coverage, or signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan, which includes Parts A, B, and D.
Jyoti Burns, an independent broker, said the majority of Lane County seniors are on Medicare Advantage plans.
It’s also good to know the difference between a broker and an agent. A broker represents the consumer while an agent represents a company.
Other dates to be aware of include the span of Jan. 1-March 31. During this period, if you’re on a Medicare Advantage plan, you can make changes if you are either dissatisfied or you feel the need to do so. If you are on both Medicare and Medicaid, you can make changes once per quarter for a total of four times a year.
Another thing to note: If you are retired military and are on both Medicare parts A and B and Tricare for Life (TFL), which is one of your benefits, you do not need to get any additional coverage for things that Medicare does not cover (co-pays and such) nor do you need to get Part D coverage for prescription drugs. TFL covers all of that.