The changing leaves signal one important thing: The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is officially underway. This means you have until December 7 to enroll in a new Medicare plan for 2019 or change your existing coverage. With so many options on the table, it’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed.
To get started, brush up on the basics of Medicare and learn about your eligibility and coverage choices. Next, you’ll want to know about the key differences coming to Medicare for 2019.
Consider the following changes being implemented for 2019 plans. Understanding these changes may help you evaluate the kind of coverage you need, for now and in the future.
- There’s going to be a new enrollment/disenrollment window: Beginning in 2019, between January 1 through March 31, you will have a one-time chance to:
- Change to a different Medicare Advantage plan
- Disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, Part A and Part B
- Sign up for a stand along Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, so you wouldn’t enroll in a stand-alone drug plan in those cases. However, if you have Original Medicare you will need a separate Part D plan.
- Remove your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan from your existing coverage.
- Note: The Annual Enrollment Period, the timeframe where you can shop and switch plans, remains in effect. It runs from October 15 and through December 7.
2. Part D costs are expected to decline slightly: In terms of Part D coverage, those who already have it will likely see a small decrease in their premiums. New national policies to reduce Medicare drug costs are subject to take effect in the new year, leading to lower costs for consumers.
3. The ways that doctors get paid may be changing: New legislation is altering the ways that doctors, hospitals and nursing homes will be compensated. The outcome of this change is not completely decided, but it may mean a move to more value-based payments (paying providers based on quality of care, rather than quantity) by subscribers.
By learning about these changes, you’ll be in a better position to make wise decisions for you and your loved ones.
For more helpful information on understanding Medicare, check out these other blogs:
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Medicare Plus BlueSM, BCN AdvantageSM and Prescription BlueSM are PPO, HMO-POS, HMO and PDP plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Medicare Plus Blue, BCN Advantage and Prescription Blue depends on contract renewal.
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