October is here, which means Medicare Open Enrollment is quickly approaching. But what exactly is Open Enrollment? Well, it means that during a pre-determined period outlined below, you can shop for a health insurance plan for you and your family. If that worries you a little, you are not alone. About 6 out of every 10 people have multiple health plan options to choose from; plus, a recent survey found that 50% of people said picking the right health plan is a “very stressful” process.
Given all the variables related to health plans — like premiums, deductibles, copays, etc. — it is no surprise how confusing the process is for someone trying to make this important decision.
Here are three things we believe you need to know about Medicare Open Enrollment for 2020:
Medicare Open Enrollment has its own timeframe.
Medicare Open Enrollment for 2020 starts on Oct. 15, 2019 and goes through Dec. 7, 2019 (while general Open Enrollment begins Nov. 1, 2019 and ends Dec. 15, 2019). In most cases, you can’t change coverage outside of this enrollment period unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. A special enrollment period allows you to enroll in plans if you have experienced a life event like losing other coverage, or move to a different area. More information is available here for Medicare Open Enrollment.
This is the time to find a Medicare health plan that’s right for you.
This means that if you are unhappy with your existing plan, you can add, drop, or make changes to your coverage. In most cases, this period is the only time to pick a Medicare Advantage or Part D (prescription drug) plan. Even if you are satisfied with your existing plan, it never hurts to view your options, does it?
Lastly, and most importantly, help is available!
Ideally, everyone would have someone who knows their medication and health history help them determine the right plan to address their specific needs. If this sounds like something you would like to take advantage of, here’s some good news: your community pharmacist is standing by and ready to help! Given their knowledge of your medications and health conditions, your community pharmacist is in a special position to help you decide the right plan that fits your health needs and budget. If you do not wish to consult a community pharmacist, the Medicare Plan Finder tool is also a resource to identify Medicare plan options.
As Medicare Open Enrollment approaches, don’t let the advertisements distract and confuse you. Don’t hesitate to seek out your trusted community pharmacist to assist you in making one of the most important decisions for yourself and your family. Want to find a community pharmacist? Head to our pharmacy directory to see the top-rated pharmacist in your area who’s ready to provide support and guidance during Open Enrollment and beyond.