During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period that runs from October 15 through December 7, you can make changes to your Medicare coverage that will be effective on January 1, 2017. If you're satisfied with your current coverage, you don't need to make changes, but you should review your options before you decide to stay with your current plan.
Your Medicare plan sends two important documents every year that you should review. The first, called the Evidence of Coverage, provides information about what your plan covers and its cost. The second, called the Annual Notice of Change, lists changes to your plan for the upcoming year that will take effect in January. You can use these documents to evaluate your current plan and decide whether you need different coverage. You should also review the official government handbook, Medicare & You 2017, which is available electronically or through the mail. It contains detailed information about Medicare that should help you determine whether your current plan is right for you.
As you review your coverage, here are a few points to consider:
- What were your health costs during the past year, and what did you spend the most on?
- Will your current plan cover all the services you need and the health-care providers you need to see next year?
- Does your current plan cost more or less than other options? Consider premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs such as copayments or coinsurance costs; are any of these costs changing?
- Do you need to join a Medicare prescription drug plan? When comparing plans, consider the cost of drugs under each plan, and make sure the drugs you take will still be covered next year.
If you have questions about Medicare, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit the Medicare website at medicare.gov. You can use the site's Medicare Plan Finder to see what plans are available in your area and check each plan's overall quality rating.