Medicare beneficiaries can make new choices and pick plans that work best for them during the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Each year, Medicare plan costs and coverage typically change. In addition, your health-care needs may have changed over the past year. The Open Enrollment Period — which begins on October 15 and runs through December 7 — is your opportunity to switch your current Medicare health and prescription drug plans to ones that better suit your needs.
During this period, you can:
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare
- Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to a different Medicare Advantage Plan
- Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer prescription drug coverage
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does offer prescription drug coverage
- Join a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D)
- Switch from one Part D plan to another Part D plan
- Drop your Part D coverage altogether
Any changes made during Open Enrollment are effective as of January 1, 2022.
Review plan options
Now is a good time to review your current Medicare benefits to see if they’re still right for you. Are you satisfied with the coverage and level of care you’re receiving with your current plan? Are your premium costs or out-of-pocket expenses too high? Has your health changed? Do you anticipate needing medical care or treatment, or new or pricier prescription drugs?
If your current plan doesn’t meet your health-care needs or fit your budget, you can switch to a new plan. If you find that you’re satisfied with your current Medicare plan and it’s still being offered, you don’t have to do anything. The coverage you have will continue.
Information on costs and benefits
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that the average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans will be $19, and the average monthly premium for Part D prescription drug coverage will be $33. CMS will announce 2022 premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts for the Medicare Part A and Part B programs soon.
You can find more information on Medicare benefits in the Medicare & You 2022 Handbook on medicare.gov.
Where can you get more information?
Determining what coverage you have now and comparing it to other Medicare plans can be confusing and complicated.
Pay attention to notices you receive from Medicare and from your plan, and take advantage of available help. You can call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit the Medicare website, medicare.gov, to use the Plan Finder and other tools that can make comparing plans easier.
You can also call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for free, personalized counseling. Visit shiptacenter.org or call the toll-free Medicare number to find the phone number for your state.
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