This year, Medicare Open Enrollment in Colorado is October 15 through December 7th—the time to make changes to your Medicare coverage. If you’re new to the program, or just looking to freshen up on some facts before the fall, here are four things you need to know about Medicare Open Enrollment.
1. Shopping for a new prescription drug plan or a Medicare Advantage plan could save you money.
Each year, reports are released that show how most Medicare recipients could have saved money if they switched to a new plan, yet few people do it. Navigating Medicare plans can be confusing, and it’s tough to read through the options without feeling overwhelmed. But here’s the truth: plan details change from year to year.
Prescriptions you take could end up costing you hundreds in dollars more this year over last year. Even if your plan was the best available for last year, it may not be for this year. Look into the details, you could find a better deal.
2. The information you need is in your Colorado plan’s Annual Notice of Change.
Watch your mailbox closely around September for a very important document: your Medicare plan’s Annual Notice of Change. This document will outline all the changes taking place to your current plan.
Pay particular attention to changes in cost and coverage, including your drug plan’s formulary (list of covered medications) drug tiers and copays. Use this information to help guide your comparison as you evaluate new plans.
3. You can have a different plan than your spouse.
Keep in mind that just because you are married, does not mean that you and your spouse must have the exact same Medicare plan. In fact, many couples have different health care needs, it makes sense for you to choose the plan that fits your unique needs best.
In some cases, Original Medicare may be the right choice for you, while a Medicare Advantage plan works better for your spouse. Don’t limit your options by choosing the same plans to keep it simple—that’s not always the right decision.
4. Price isn’t the only comparison point.
The cost of a plan is always an important factor to consider when making comparisons. But aside from looking at premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, it is absolutely essential that you look at other factors to choose a plan that covers your needs at the best price.
Review the network of doctors and hospitals provided by any plan you are interested in to ensure your favorites are included. If you take prescriptions, the availability of drugs you use is a key factor. Be sure to look at pharmacy access too—you may want to consider using e-pharmacy, or getting prescriptions delivered by mail.
Colorado Medicare Open Enrollment is a busy time of year, but the only time when you are allowed to:
- Switch from Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) to a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C).
- Switch from Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
- Join, switch or drop a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D).
This opportunity ends December 7th. Be sure to review your health and drug plans in plenty of time to make necessary changes. And remember, any changes you make during Open Enrollment will go into effect on January 1.
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