I’ve heard that Fall Open Enrollment is coming up. What is Fall Open Enrollment, and what should I do to prepare for it?Andre (Dover, DE)
Fall Open Enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7 each year, and it’s a time when you can make changes to your Medicare coverage if you want to. During Fall Open enrollment, you can
- Join a new Medicare Advantage PlanJoin a new Part D prescription drug plan
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare
Between October 15 and December 7, 2017, you can make as many changes as you need to your Medicare coverage. The final change that you make will go into effect on January 1, 2018. To prepare for Fall Open Enrollment, you should begin to think about two major things:
First, think about your current health and drug coverage. If you have Original Medicare, review the 2018 Medicare & You handbook. This will outline your benefits for the upcoming year. If you aren’t satisfied with Original Medicare, Fall Open Enrollment is a good time to make changes.
If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a stand-alone Part D drug plan, you should receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and an Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from your plan. These documents outline which providers, pharmacies, drugs, and services your plan covers, and what costs you will be responsible for. They’ll also tell you what will change in 2018. If you aren’t satisfied (for example, if a drug you need is no longer on your Part D plan’s formulary, or a provider you see is no longer in your Medicare Advantage Plan’s network), you can make changes during Fall Open Enrollment.
Even if you are happy with the coverage you get, you should review your current coverage and look at other options in your area to see if there are other plans that cost less and/or better suit your individual needs in the coming year.
Next, think about costs. Costs can vary widely between different kinds of Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. Some Medicare Advantage Plans charge an additional premium on top of the Part B Medicare premium. Some Part D plans require people to pay a deductible, while others do not. Another plan in your area could offer you the same or better health and/or drug coverage at a more affordable price or have fewer coverage restrictions. Research shows that people with Medicare prescription drug coverage could lower their costs by shopping among plans each year.
To prepare, create a list of all the health care providers you see, prescription drugs you take, and pharmacies you use. You might receive a lot of mail before and during Fall Open Enrollment, but keep an eye out for any notices from Medicare or your Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. If you decide you want to make changes, you can do so by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.
Below is a handy infographic with some tips to help you navigate your coverage options during Fall Open Enrollment.
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