Sorting out Medicare Open Enrollment

Every year, Oct. 15  marks the beginning of Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment season. That means everyone enrolled in Medicare has from that date until Dec. 7 to make changes to their Medicare Advantage health and Part D prescription drug plans for 2024.

Chances are you’ve been seeing plenty of ads about open enrollment already—in your mailbox, on TV, in your email. It’s no fun trying to separate the junk mail from the important communications from Medicare, Social Security, and any other insurer you may have this year. The Office for the Aging can help you sort things out.

What you can do during Open Enrollment

During the Open Enrollment period, you can make changes to various aspects of your coverage.

These are the most significant opportunities:

• You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.

• You can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another.

• If you didn’t enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan when you were first eligible, you can do so during the Open Enrollment period. Find out more by contacting OFA.

Check your mailbox 

If your current health insurance or prescription plan has made changes to your co-pays, premiums, and/or drug formularies, you should receive a “notice of change” letter from the company this month.

The plan is required to notify you of these changes. Read the entire notice of change and contact your plan administrator with any questions.

You may also receive letters concerning actions you need to take about your eligibility for state and federal assistance programs relating to your health or prescription drug plans or coverage.

If you’ve gotten this far into the article and are thinking “I’m so confused,” you’re not alone.

With Medicare regulations running to hundreds of thousands of pages, even experts can get bogged down. OFA can help you get some clarity as you make your choices for 2024.

We offer free phone and in-person counseling to people with questions about their Medicare plans. This counseling, presented as part of HIICAP (Health Insurance Information, Counseling and Assistance Program), is unique in that it’s non-sales-oriented. HIICAP provides unbiased information.

You can make an appointment by contacting us during business hours at 845-486-2555, or by emailing ofa@dutchessny.gov. Counseling appointments fill up quickly. If we are unable to book an appointment for you, we can put you in touch with other local Medicare counseling alternatives who may have space.

You can prepare for your appointment and learn more about Medicare by looking over OFA’s new Medicare Spotlight for the 2023-24 season, available at www.dutchessny.gov/THRIVE60 and at libraries throughout Dutchess County.

 

Golden Living is prepared by the Dutchess County Office for the Aging, Todd N. Tancredi, director. Email him at ofa@dutchessny.gov.

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