Open enrollment for Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription coverage begins on October 15 and ends on December 7, 2020. When it’s over, whatever decisions you may have made will be set in stone for a full calendar year.
Mistakes are costly, especially for people who require multiple prescriptions. Also, if you do not enroll in Medicare when you are eligible, there is a 10% increase in premiums for every year you failed to enroll (i.e., if you enroll in Part B or D three years late, your annual premium is increased by 30%) for the rest of your life.
Among changes you can make include switching from original Medicare, Part A for hospital insurance and Part B for medical coverage to a private Medicare Advantage plan. You can also change from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different one. And you can join a prescription drug plan under Medicare Part D.
It’s very tempting to shrug your shoulders and go with the same plan you had last year. Don’t. Plan changes, networks change, doctor’s participation in networks change. The plan you had last year might not work this year.
Medicare is challenging to navigate. Over the years, we have made a point of speaking with clients about their Medicare plan when we meet during the enrollment season. In recent years, we’ve noted that it has become even more complicated. This especially true of Medicare Part D. Currently, there are over thirty different Part D plans available on Long Island.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Service, the federal agency which runs the programs, introduced the Medicare Plan Finder to assist seniors in August 2019. Unfortunately, the Finder had numerous technical glitches and incorrect information; many seniors could not access the Finder. It proved a hardship to seniors. There were reports of Inflated costs and higher premiums. Complaints came from Medicare enrollees, consumer advocates, U.S. Senators, state insurance commissioners, and even the insurance brokers who sell these plans.
As a public service to assist Seniors in making an informed decision about their Medicare coverage, our office is offering complimentary consultations by phone, video conference, or in office.
We are attorneys. We are not an insurance agency or broker and sell no product. Our review is impartial. We want to help seniors avoid mistakes. Medicare is confusing. We are pleased to help.
A few steps to take, as described by CNBC in the article “Medicare open enrollment is coming up. Three steps to save money this fall.”
1 – Know your plan. Look for a piece of mail from Medicare, “Annual Notice of Change.” This letter will have information about changes to coverage and costs, including premiums, deductibles, and co-pays. If you do not participate in Medicare, you will not receive the letter.
2 – Gather up all of your medical expenses from the last year and a list of the doctors you see regularly and the medications you take. If you use a single pharmacy, they will gladly give you a printed list. You’ll need that to figure out which one will be best for you in 2021.
3 – Your modified adjusted gross income (“MAGI”) from two years ago determines your premiums for Medicare Part B. MAGI includes capital gains, Social Security, and required minimum distributions from retirement funds and 401(k) plans. Your 2019 income determines the premium you’ll pay in 2021. It’s too late to do much about that now, but if you can curtail income in 2020, you may reduce Medicare costs.
We invite you to call our office and request a free consultation to discuss your Medicare coverage. Call our office at 516-307-1236.
This article was provided by Stephen J. Silverberg, Attorney at Law, Founder of the Law Office of Stephen J. Silverberg, P.C., one of New York’s TOP Elder Law and Estate Planning Law Firms. Attorney Silverberg and his firm are Members of the ElderCare Matters Alliance and have a Featured Listing on ElderCareMatters.com– America’s National Directory of Elder Care / Senior Care Resources to help families plan for and deal with the issues of Aging.
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