Medicare Open Enrollment Will Be Here Soon. Here’s How to Gear Up.

Medicare Open Enrollment Will Be Here Soon. Here’s How To Gear Up.

Many seniors end up finding that healthcare is their largest expense in retirement. Part of the reason has to do with the fact that many retirees manage to pay off their mortgages before ending their careers, and therefore don’t have to spend as much on housing. But part of it also has to do with the fact that health issues tend to arise as people age, leading to a need for more testing, more procedures, and more associated bills.

Meanwhile, many seniors end up on Medicare once they turn 65. And that alone can be a huge expense — especially for those who get the bulk of their retirement income from Social Security.

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It’s important to choose the right Medicare coverage so you can get the care you need as a senior without having to spend an unreasonable amount of money in the process. But the Medicare plan you choose initially is not necessarily the plan you’re stuck with for life.

Each year, Medicare runs an open enrollment period, during which time existing enrollees can make changes to their health coverage. That period’s start date, Oct. 15, is coming up.

To be clear, open enrollment is not for people who are first becoming eligible to sign up for Medicare. Rather, it’s for those who are already on Medicare. But if you’re in the latter boat, it pays to gear up for open enrollment by doing these things.

1. Review your current Medicare plan’s notice of change

You may, in recent weeks, have gotten a notice from your Medicare plan administrator informing you of changes to your existing coverage. That’s a notice it pays to read carefully before open enrollment begins. If your plan is changing for the obviously worse, then you’ll surely want to explore different options once open enrollment officially kicks off.

2. Make a list of the ways your healthcare needs have changed

Maybe your Medicare plan isn’t changing all that much. But if your personal needs are changing, then that alone could be a good reason to explore different coverage options during open enrollment.

You may, for example, want to find a Part D drug plan that offers decent coverage for a new pill you’ve started to take daily. Or, you may want to find an Advantage plan with a supplemental benefit that can help address a recently diagnosed health condition.

3. Plan to get moving quickly

Open enrollment runs all the way through Dec. 7. But that doesn’t mean you should wait to start exploring your plan choices. In fact, it’s a good idea to mark your calendar for Oct. 15 so you can begin reviewing your options immediately.

Choosing a new Medicare plan can be time-consuming. And given that it’s your health coverage on the line, it’s not a decision you’ll want to rush through.

Make the most of open enrollment

Making smart choices during Medicare’s open enrollment period could set you up for more affordable healthcare bills in 2023. And at a time when living costs are soaring due to inflation, that’s a really important thing.

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