If you are eligible for Medicare, expect for your mailbox, your inbox, your voicemail, and news feeds to be cluttered with advertisements to enroll. Considering the amount of media you’re sure to be bombarded with, you shouldn’t be able to forget enrolling in the program. Medicare’s open enrollment for 2023 runs from October 15th through December 7th, 2022. Your biggest decision will be choosing between traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage.

Traditional Medicare

Traditional Medicare has two separate parts, Part A and Part B. Part A covers any hospital insurance you might need such as hospital visits, surgeries, overnight stays, extended stays, even nursing care rehab facilities to recuperate in the short term if needed.

Medicare’s Part B is medical insurance which covers doctor visits, outpatient procedures, as well as other health care providers. Medical equipment, such as walkers and wheelchairs, is covered, and even vaccines and screenings are covered under Part B.

The Federal Government provides both Part A and Part B.

Medigap – Medicare Supplemental Insurance

Medigap is a supplemental insurance sold by private companies to help cover the “gaps” in after traditional Medicare. After Medicare pays its portion, these policies help pay for any remainder with regards to deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. Some Medigap policies cover your Medicare deductibles or even cover out-of-country healthcare should you be traveling abroad. In order to purchase a Medigap policy, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B.

During the enrollment period, you can do one of three things: sign up for a new plan, switch plans, or leave a plan. Many enrollees do not switch plans, but if you’d like to, now is the time to do so. If you’re a current enrollee who does not wish to switch Supplement plans, you’ll want to confirm this for 2023.

Prescription Drug Coverage

Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. Begin by you’ll want to review the Formulary, or the list of drugs covered by your plan. If you’ve added or subtracted any routine medications this past year, you might reconsider selecting a different plan for the coming year. Specialty drugs or the requirement to utilize mail-order pharmacy services forces you to ditch the current plan and select a better option. Shop smart—lifestyle medications like Myrbetriq or EpiPen may not be covered by your selected Part D.

Next, consider the pricing tiers associated with Part D plans. These tiers come with differing copays for each tier of medicine.

With regards to vaccines for 2023, the Inflation Reduction Act has lowered the cost of more vaccines (including shingles) to $0, with costs for insulin capping at $35. Starting in January of 2023, you will not need to pay deductibles for insulin.

Why Should You Change Your Coverage?

There are several reasons why you might want to change your Medigap or Part D prescription plan coverage. Some of them include:

  • Your doctor longer accepts Medicare
  • Your former employer is changing its retiree health benefits
  • Your copays have increased dramatically
  • Your monthly premium has been dramatically increased (Medigap & Part D)
  • You no longer have access to your specialty medication (Part D)

Some plans for Medicare will automatically renew, but that’s not always the best route to take if your policy has been updated to reflect any of the reasons above. Be proactive about your healthcare and read the fine print.

Some Things to Remember

If you’re a current enrollee, be sure to carefully read the “plan change” documents from their existing carriers. You don’t want to miss any change to your coverage that might be in the small print. Utilize retiree enrollment portals and services like AON, if available to you. Even if your organization does not provide financial coverage, these portals may shortcut your research and enrollment time.

If you have changed plans, place your new membership cards in your wallet and take them to every doctor appointment. This will save yourself headaches down the road with any billing errors. You’ll also want to give your new Part D RX card to your local pharmacy or mail order provider to avoid any gaps in coverage at refill time.

At Organized Instincts, our seasoned team of daily money managers can help you give your Medicare supplement and Part D prescription plans an annual physical to keep it in good health. Set aside time to care about your Medicare open enrollment and schedule a free consultation today to discuss how we can help.