Participating in Medicare Open Enrollment Is Crucial This Year

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by Athena Merritt |

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If you have reviewed your Medicare coverage options for 2021, pat yourself on the back. Annually, 57% don’t bother, according to recent analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF).

If you’re among those that skip Medicare’s annual open enrollment, there are some good reasons not to ignore this round. Before the Dec. 7 deadline arrives, there are a few things you can do to help you decide if change is necessary. 

This year, there’s a very compelling motivator to take on the tedious task of poring through plans. I’ll give you a hint: It’s why we are all masking up and avoiding strangers.  

More than one million Medicare beneficiaries had contracted COVID-19 as of Aug. 15, according to preliminary estimates from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. A total of 284,316 of them required hospitalization, which CNBC reported can be a staggering cost. That’s why now is a good time to determine what you will be on the hook for under the coverage you will have.

Don’t get fooled

Come January, Medicare enrollees will be handing over more for Part A and Part B. Compare 2020 and 2021 costs here. Even if your Part C and/or Part D premiums remain the same, check to make sure plans haven’t been modified in other budget-busting ways. 

For instance, will your physician and/or prescription copay remain the same? Is the deductible before your insurer begins paying going up? Are your prescriptions still covered? Have any of your prescriptions been moved to more expensive tiers?  

Nearly eight in 10 Part D enrollees without low-income subsidies face 2021 hikes if they stick to their current stand-alone prescription plans, according to KFF findings released in October. 

Think ahead

Don’t just consider your current needs but your future needs as well. Will it cost more to go to the physicians, hospitals, and pharmacies you prefer? Do they provide contactless services that decrease your exposure to the coronavirus?

Vision and dental add-ons might not have been a priority in the past but could be valuable now if expenses are expected. Determine what matters to you and whether your needs are being met before time runs out to make selections. 

There is information on how to search for plans and get free assistance in the last paragraph of this column I previously wrote. You still have two weekends left to tackle it. So, give yourself the peace of mind of knowing you did everything possible to find the most affordable option for your healthcare. 


Brighter side: We all could use a break from bad news right now. So, I’ll be closing my columns with a roundup of positivity until we are able to say goodbye to masks, hug our loved ones, and leave our homes without fear.

  • A Hobbit-like adventure: A sporting club has built two “hobbit” homes for guest experiences, and three more are under construction, NBC 10 News reported this month. The stone lodgings look like the fantasy underground dwellings of the diminutive, hairy-footed hobbit race invented by author J.R.R. Tolkien. The Preserve at Boulder Hills Club and Residences creates themes for the spaces, such as the current pumpkin patch hobbit house. Bookings are available for small get-togethers and luxury private dining experiences.
  • National Lampoon’s big return: You may soon catch “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” on a lawn near you. According to House Beautiful, 8-foot-tall inflatable snow globes that can project scenes from the holiday classic are being sold by Home Depot. They have external ports so you can play the entire movie or other favorites. 


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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sarcoidosis.


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