Medicare Open Enrollment Is Open; Here’s What You Need to Know
By Preston Rosamond
As you work your way through your retirement checklist, don’t forget to consider healthcare planning. A commonly overlooked (and headache-inducing) part of transitioning into retirement is navigating Medicare’s enrollment options. To help simplify things a bit, here’s a summary of the multiple Medicare plans available and the various enrollment periods to take note of. And if you’re already enrolled, now is an ideal time to reassess your coverage to ensure it’s still the best fit.
The Four Parts of Medicare
Medicare coverage is divided into 4 parts and each part has different coverage levels:
- Medicare Part A: Also known as hospital insurance, Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital care and some nursing care coverage. If you or your spouse paid Medicare payroll taxes during your working years for at least 10 years, Part A is free for you. If you didn’t, you can still get coverage by paying a monthly premium.
- Medicare Part B: Part B is medical insurance coverage for some medical conditions and preventative care, including doctor visits and other outpatient services. You will pay a monthly premium for Part B coverage. Together, Parts A and B are known as Original Medicare.
- Medicare Part C: Known as Medicare Advantage Plan, this is an alternative to Original Medicare that is offered through Medicare-approved private companies. This plan bundles Part A and Part B and often includes Part D as well. Medicare Advantage plans also often cover additional services not covered by Part A, Part B, or Part D, including vision, hearing, and dental visits.
- Medicare Part D: This is an optional private insurance add-on that includes drug coverage. Not to make things even more confusing, but Part D has a late enrollment penalty. Even if you don’t need prescription coverage when you are first eligible for Medicare, enroll in the plan to avoid extra long-term costs. (1)
Your Open Enrollment Options
Keep in mind that open enrollment is not for those who have not yet enrolled in Medicare. If that’s you, your initial enrollment period is based upon your birthday, not a set date on a calendar. You need to sign up for coverage during the window of time that starts three months before the month of your 65th birthday and ends at the end of the third month after, for a total of seven months.
The open enrollment period affects each part separately. Here’s what you can do with your Medicare coverage:
- If you have Medicare Parts A & B, you can switch to Part C.
- If you have Medicare Part C, you can switch back to Original Medicare or change to a different Medicare Advantage Plan.
- If you have Part D, you can switch to a different Part D plan or drop your prescription drug plan.
You can also use this time to enroll in Part C and Part D for the first time.
When Can I Make These Changes?
This year, Medicare open enrollment began on October 15th and remains open through December 7th. The decisions you make during this period will affect your 2022 Medicare coverage.
Don’t get this confused with the Medicare Advantage open enrollment period that occurs from January 1st to March 31st, where those with Part C can change to a different Part C plan or switch to Parts A and B. Any other changes need to happen in the October-December enrollment period.
Overwhelmed by Medicare Open Enrollment? We Can Help.
Yes, choosing the right Medicare plan can be a complicated endeavor. But choosing the wrong plan could negatively impact your wealth management strategy. The bottom line is that taking your time to shop around for the right plan will benefit your health and medical needs and your pocketbook.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to navigate this process on your own. We at The Rosamond Financial Group are here to help you reassess which plan will work best for you. Call my office at 830-798-9400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Preston Rosamond is a financial advisor and the founder of The Rosamond Financial Group Wealth Management, LLC with nearly two decades of industry experience. He provides comprehensive wealth management and financial services to individuals, professionals, and families who enjoy simplicity and seek a professional to help them pursue their goals. Preston personally serves his clients with an individual touch, a sincere heart, and his servant’s attitude is evident from the moment you meet him. Learn more about Preston or start the conversation about your finances with him by emailing email@example.com or schedule a call with our online calendar.