Common Mistakes to Avoid During Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7. During this annual enrollment period, eligible participants are given a chance to review and update their existing Medicare plan to one that better suits their needs for the upcoming year. While this may seem simple, the deadlines, changes and pressure can make it a little overwhelming.

To help make this process easier for you, RBFCU's Medicare Program has provided the most common mistakes beneficiaries make during Medicare Open Enrollment and how to avoid them.

Procrastinating

The old adage of "better late than never" isn't exactly ideal for the Medicare Open Enrollment Period – TIMING IS EVERYTHING. During this critical duration, you only have a limited amount of time to review new coverage updates, consider future medical conditions and expenses and enroll in a plan that fits your health care needs for the upcoming year. If you procrastinate, you could find yourself locked into a plan that's unfit and not easy to change.

Take a moment to mark November 16 on your calendar as your enrollment date. Use the time before then to carefully review and compare your current plan with the new ones listed for next year. Make a list of your current and future medical expenses and conditions, and schedule an appointment with a licensed insurance agent to select the right plan for your medical needs and budget. This technique will result in determining the best plan three weeks before the deadline, leaving you time to make last-minute changes if necessary.

Assuming the current coverage will remain the same

Every year, beneficiaries enroll in either Medicare Advantage or a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan. These two plans are more likely to change annually. These changes can affect monthly premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, copayments and pharmacy networks, resulting in an increase in out-of-pocket expenses next year.

You can avoid this unpleasant surprise by reviewing the Annual Notice of Change. The document lists any changes in coverage, costs or service area that will be effective on January 1 of the following year. If you discover any undesirable changes, take the time to reach out to a licensed agent to discuss your options and make the necessary updates.

Making your decision based on monthly premiums only

While paying a lower premium is ideal, it is not always the best option for saving money on medical expenses in the long run. It's important to consider all possible costs when choosing your plans, such as premiums, deductibles and prescription drug copays. By basing your decision solely on monthly premium, you could find yourself paying less than $20 per month but paying over $300 on your prescriptions because those are not covered on your plan.

Eliminate your chances of spending unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses by visiting the official Medicare website and using the Medicare Plan Finder Tool to compare plans. Be sure to sort the available plans by "lowest drug + premium cost" to view plans that offer you the lowest overall annual out of pocket.

Still have questions? Contact one of our insurance agents today to request a complimentary consultation.

Not connected with or endorsed by the United States government or the federal Medicare program. This is a solicitation of insurance. A licensed insurance agent/producer may contact you.

RBFCU Investments Group LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU).

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