NerdWallet: Here’s an easy guide to help you review and change your Medicare plan

by | Oct 28, 2022 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  Medicare open enrollment started Oct. 15, but 7 in 10 Medicare beneficiaries say they don’t compare Medicare plans during this period, according to a 2021 analysis by KFF, a health policy nonprofit.

That’s not great, since Medicare Advantage plans — which operate much like the private insurance you may have had through an employer — change from year to year. One of your doctors may have fallen out of network or your prescription drug prices may have gone up. And people with Original Medicare should compare their Part D prescription drug coverage. Here’s how to approach switching Medicare plans.Take advantage of enrollment periods If you have a Medicare plan, Medicare open enrollment from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 is your opportunity to change coverage. You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa, or enroll in or change Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. If you have Medicare Advantage, you can also use Medicare Advantage open enrollment from Jan. 1 to March 31 each year to switch plans or go back to Original Medicare and sign up for a Medicare Part D drug plan. Also read: More seniors are being pushed into poverty — here’s whyConsider prescription drugs If you’re on any prescription medications, understand how your current plan will cover them in 2023 and whether another plan might be more affordable. “It can be as simple as putting your drugs into Medicare.gov,” says Scott Maibor, a Medicare advisor based in Boston. “You should at least verify that ‘This is the plan I’m on, this is the plan that’s recommended, what are the savings?’” That’s because Part D prescription drug plans — whether you’re with Original Medicare or getting coverage through a Medicare Advantage plan — can change each year. You may find that one of your prescriptions will cost more in 2023, or that your plan will stop covering it. Or you may have started a new medication and you can find a plan that charges you less for it. Don’t forget to browse your drug plan’s preferred pharmacies. “It’s not even just a matter of cost sometimes, it’s a matter of location,” says Karen Schechter, director and assistant professor of the health care management and health administration programs at Maryville University. “If I’m a person who needs to refill a prescriptio …

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