At this time of year, a window opens for millions of people to find savings on their healthcare costs.
Medicare’s annual open enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, allows you to review and make changes to your existing healthcare and prescription coverage. While it might seem a tedious and time-consuming task, living with a chronic illness such as sarcoidosis can be costly, and this open window can determine your healthcare costs for the next year.
Letting savings slip away
If you’ve let open enrollment periods slide by in the past without taking action, you’re not alone. More than 60 million people are covered under Medicare, and about 10,000 join the ranks each day. Just one in 10 of those who enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans with prescription medication coverage in 2013 voluntarily switched to another plan in 2014, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. An average of 13 percent of Medicare Part D enrollees voluntarily changed plans during four enrollment periods between 2006 and 2010, even though doing so often results in lower out-of-pocket costs, a 2013 study by Kaiser found.
Why 2020 plan coverages are worth a look
It’s a good idea to carry out an annual review of your coverage and any proposed changes to it to see how it stacks up against other plans being offered, particularly if your health status or prescriptions have changed.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has also projected lower 2020 premium costs for both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans. Medicare Advantage average monthly premiums are expected to drop 14 percent to an estimated $23 in 2020, compared to an average of $26.87 in 2019. Enrollees will have an additional 1,200 Medicare Advantage plan options in 2020 than in 2018. If you’ve had your eye on an Apple Watch, The Verge reports that one private Medicare Advantage insurer is offering a significant discount to its members.
Where to find free assistance
You can search for plans using the recently redesigned Medicare Plan Finder and review your plan options here. And the national network of the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs provides free, unbiased, one-on-one counseling, and assistance. To find your local SHIP, click here.
So what are you waiting for? Happy hunting!
Note: Sarcoidosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sarcoidosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.