Millions of retired people are enrolled in Medicare open enrollment. It runs from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. Many find it difficult. Many people don’t know the difference between Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. They are also overwhelmed by Medicare advertising. According to Sage Growth Partners’ July 2022 report, only 4 out of 10 people actually review their plans each year.
This can lead to Medicare open enrollment missedes. For example, you may not be able to confirm that your providers will be in-network for the next year. You also might not be able compare your Medicare Part D prescription drugs coverage with other options.
These are common Medicare open enrollment errors:
1. For 2023, don’t forget to check with your doctor
You must seek medical care from physicians within the Medicare Advantage plan network. A plan’s network is subject to change at any moment. Be sure to check that your preferred providers are still available in the plan’s network by 2023 before you decide whether you want to stay with the plan.
It may take some effort on your part as websites and provider directories don’t always have the latest information.
“I was at a client and the plan said that their doctor wasn’t in-network. It took us calling the provider to look up another site on the network side,” says Evan Tunis of Florida Healthcare Insurance. “I would recommend calling the doctor to confirm span with them.
2. Not comparing prescription drug plans
No matter if you have Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Supplement, your prescription drug coverage is provided by a private insurance company. It may change the amount it covers each year. In 2023, your regular prescription medication could be more expensive or not covered by an insurance company. It may be covered by another plan for less. )
To see which plans they offer, it is worth plugging your drugs into Medicare.gov. Pro tip: Your medication history will already be stored if you log in to Medicare.gov.
“It makes them much more able to shop for next year,” Katy Votava, who is president and founder at Goodcare, a consulting company focused on the economics behind Medicare, says. They don’t need to tediously place everything line by line and in milligram span>
3. All doctors will accept your PPO plan
PPO (preference provider organization) is a type of health plan that allows members access to out-of-network physicians, often at a higher cost. Some people believe that they can see any doctor they wish because they have a Medicare Advantage plan. Providers don’t always offer out-of-network coverage.
Tunis states that providers can refuse to bill a plan if they don’t want to.
This is a case in point: The Mayo Clinic in Florida, which has Medicare Advantage coverage, is not in-network and will not schedule appointments for Medicare Advantage members.
To have full provider selection, choose Original Medicare with Medicare Supplement Insurance , , or Medigap. Tunis states that
4. Be swayed to buy the flashy ads
Medicare Open Enrollment Season means Medicare commercials galore. Medicare Advantage plans offer appealing features like no premiums, some coverage for hearing, vision, and dental care.
Shopping for health insurance is more than just about the side benefits. Votava states that most insurance policies don’t cover dental coverage. “Hearing aid coverage also is very limited. This is not a reason to change your plan span>
Votava states that it is more important to make sure your plan covers you and your prescriptions for the following year.
5. Don’t wait too long before asking for help
Open enrollment for Medicare ends Dec. 7. However, you don’t have to wait until that day or the last week to begin your research. You can seek help from programs such as the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) if you have any questions. Although SHIP counselors can help you with your Medicare options, they are busy.
Some SHIP programs are booked several weeks in advance. Votava states, “If you are in need of help, don’t hesitate.”
This article is by NerdWallet. It was originally published in The Associated Press.