Open Enrollment Is Coming: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Medicare

If you’re eligible for Medicare, it’s almost time for the most important period of the year: open enrollment. Whether you’re a longtime Medicare subscriber or in your first year of eligibility, it’s crucial that you don’t miss open enrollment.

Open enrollment is the only time all year that seniors can make changes to their Medicare coverage. This year, the open enrollment period for 2019 will begin on October 15, 2018.

Who Is Eligible for Medicare?

Medicare coverage begins automatically when a person turns 65. Part A is free, but you have to pay a monthly premium for any other parts you choose.

What Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare coverage is provided in four parts, and each part offers entirely different benefits. The four parts include:

Part A

Medicare Part A covers inpatient hospital care, including a semi-private room, nursing services, meals, and required medications. Medicare Part A also covers skilled nursing facilities and even home care in certain situations.

Part B

Medicare Part B is medical insurance designed to cover medical supplies and services needed to treat different medical conditions. This includes ambulance services, outpatient care, preventive services, and medical equipment prescribed by a doctor.

Part C

Medicare Part C plans are commonly referred to as Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Part C is similar to typical health insurance – it’s handled through private insurance companies.

Part D

Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs which aren’t covered under Medicare Parts A and B. Part D is optional, but many people find it helpful.

Consider Supplemental Insurance

Medicare won’t cover 100 percent of your medical needs. Even for covered services, your bill could be significant. In order to have full coverage, you may want to consider purchasing a supplemental policy.

A supplemental insurance policy can save you money because it will pay for out-of-pocket expenses not covered by Medicare. Unlike Medicare, supplemental insurance plans also place a cap on out-of-pocket expenditures, meaning you won’t have to spend any money over that cap.

Don’t Miss These Enrollment Dates

The 2019 Medicare open enrollment period will run for just three short months from October 15, 2018, to December 7, 2018. During this time, you can switch from your current Medicare plan to a different option, as well as add or drop Medicare Part D plans.

Be sure you understand these dates and don’t miss the opportunity to make a change in your health coverage. If you do, you may have to wait another year or pay a penalty, both of which can be incredibly costly.

Interested in learning more about Medicare open enrollment? Start a search today.

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