It’s that time again. Every year we have the opportunity to make changes to our Medicare plans between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7.
We have the option of changing from original Medicare to an Advantage plan, or vice versa, or changing to a different Advantage plan. We also can change our Medicare Part D drug plan.
The decisions aren’t easy. After all, we have to live with them for the next year.
We’ll soon receive a new “Medicare & You” book in the mail, as well as notices about any changes to our current coverage. While we can usually stay with the plan we have if we don’t want to make any changes, it’s important to review everything we’re sent, because there might be new information buried in the language.
Sometimes a plan is discontinued. The premium can change. Coverage details might be different. Read the fine print and be certain that your coverage will be what you expect.
For Advantage plan changes, there is an additional open enrollment period: Jan. 1 to March 31. This was new for 2019 and gives three extra months to decide on an Advantage plan.
Beware: You can change your mind about Advantage plans a few times during fall enrollment, but only once during the first three months of the year.
If you’re signing up for Medicare Parts A and B for the first time, you have a seven-month period to do it: the three months before you turn 65, the month you turn 65 and the three months after you turn 65.
If you don’t sign up for Part B in time, you can be forced to pay a penalty for the whole time you have Part B. Keep an eye on the dates.
To review plans, go online to www.medicare.gov and look at the plan finder.