he open enrollment period for Medi-
care is October ;; to December ;,
;;;;. During this time, people with
Medicare can change their Medicare
health plans and prescription drug coverage
for the coming year to ensure they have the
best plan to meet their needs.
Review and compare
Changes occur each year in Medicare
health and prescription drug plans and may
affect costs, prescription drug coverage, and
provider and pharmacy selection.
If you are happy with your current plan
and any proposed changes, you don’t have to
do anything. However, if you feel the plan no
longer meets your needs, you can make a
change during open enrollment. Starting in
October, visit the Medicare Plan Finder (at
medicare.gov/find-a-plan) to compare plans
and find a health and prescription drug
coverage plan that works best for you. (See
sidebar below for additional resources.)
The next step is to contact the new plan
you want to join. Medicare can also assist
you by phone, online or in person. Your
coverage will begin January ;.
Changes after January 1
If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan,
you can also make limited changes during
the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment
Period, from January ; through February ;;.
New coverage will begin the first day of the
month after the plan receives your enrollment form.
You may qualify for a Special Enrollment
Period, which allows you to make changes to
your plan at other times of the year.
To get help
To learn more, call ;-;;;-MEDICARE
(;-;;;-;;;-;;;;) or go to medicare.gov.
For local, personalized health insurance
assistance, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program ( shiptacenter.org).
If you have limited resources, you may
qualify for a program called Extra Help to
pay for prescription drugs.
to apply for the Extra Help program.
What you need to know
about the open enrollment
period for Medicare
by LINDA R. BERNSTEIN
Linda R. Bernstein,
Pharm.D., is president
and CEO of Vita
a medical communications company.
eHealth at Costco