What changes can I make during this year’s Medicare Open Enrollment Period?

Provided by Joseph V. Curatolo

Each year, current Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their Medicare coverage for the following year during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period that started on Oct. 15 and runs through Dec. 7. Because this period is the only time during the year that all people with Medicare can make changes to their health and prescription drug plans for the following year, you should carefully consider your options. During this annual enrollment period, you can:

• Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
• Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
• Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
• Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does offer it.
• Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t.
• Enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan if you didn’t enroll when you were first eligible (a late enrollment penalty may apply).
• Switch from one Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another.
• Drop Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Your new coverage, or changes to your existing coverage for the new year, will take effect on Jan. 1.

If you’re currently in (or join) a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have another opportunity to leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare (with or without a Part D prescription drug plan) during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period that occurs every year from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14. However, if you have Original Medicare you cannot make any changes during this period. In certain circumstances, if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D prescription drug plan, you may also qualify to make changes during Special Enrollment Periods. Visit medicare.gov for more information.

Joseph V. Curatolo is president of Georgetown Capital Group, 5350 Main St., Williamsville (phone: 633-9800, toll-free 1 (800) 648-8091, fax 633-9789, www.georgetowncapital.com).

Insurance services offered by Georgetown Capital Group, which is independent of Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., with separate ownership, and is not registered as a broker-dealer or investment advisor.

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