Are you satisfied with the Medicare coverage you’ve got? Do you know what your options are?
By Nancy Reddington
Are you satisfied with the Medicare coverage you’ve got? Do you know what your options are? Confused by all the mail and the insurance statements over the last several months? It may pay to check.
The Medicare Open Enrollment period, during which you are free to switch coverage for the next calendar year, runs October 15 until December 7. Whether you have Original Medicare with a Medigap (supplement) plan and Part D prescription k plan, or a Medicare Advantage Plan, this is the time to reevaluate your needs.
What would be a reason to switch?
If you have Original Medicare with a Medigap supplement and Part D:
Has your financial condition changed requiring you to evaluate the less expensive option of an Advantage plan?
Has the company providing your Part D coverage removed any of your drugs from their prescription list? Or have they raised your drugs to a higher, more costly tier?
Have any of your expensive drugs gone off patent this year, allowing you to get a less expensive Part D plan?
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan:
Has your health changed requiring expanded, more flexible coverage?
Have any doctors or hospitals opted out of your current plan?
Has your plan removed any of your drugs from the list, raised their cost, or moved them to a more costly tier?
To evaluate Advantage Plans and part D Prescription drug plans, visit www.medicare.gov, an excellent website which allows you to search for the best plans available to you considering the medications you currently take. Many seniors, however, are not adept at navigating it. There’s a solution.
Senior Benefits Information Centers, available at ten library locations and through a countywide helpline, are available to walk each individual through his or her options – online, in-person, and one-to-one. And if you or someone you know will soon be eligible for Medicare, these counselors will assist with the thorny web of considerations required in planning for enrollment.
Counselors are trained volunteers with the Westchester Seniors Out Speaking program. In addition to Medicare guidance, counselors provide information about different types of government programs, including federal and state financial assistance programs, and countywide benefits.
The Port Chester Library has counselors available on Thursdays from 11-2. To find other library locations, or to leave a message with the Helpline, call 231-3240. For further information, visit www.westchesterlibraries.org/senior-benefits-information-centers.
The author is a volunteer counselor, Westchester Seniors Speaking Out.