Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Heads Up: Medicare Annual Enrollment now through December 7, 2021

>Over 439,000 West Virginians are Medicare beneficiaries. There is a lot to know about Medicare. Here are a few tips for figuring what you need to do during this annual enrollment period:

  1. If you didn't enroll in Medicare when you were first eligible your opportunity to enroll is now.
  2. If you want to make changes or switch plans for Part D prescription drug coverage your opportunity is now.
  3. If you want to leave original Medicare provided by the government and go to a Medicare Advantage Plan provided by a private insurance company, or switch back from an advantage plan to original Medicare, the time is now.
  4. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to what you should do now, and there is a lot to know. You can get assistance from trained Medicare counselors through the West Virginia SHIP program (877) 987-3646. 
Be careful not to enroll in something that you don't understand or aren't confident is right for you. Recognize that if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan you are leaving original Medicare. For some beneficiaries this makes sense and for some it does not, so get good advice from a neutral trained counselor. It's not wise to rely only on the advice offered by a sales agent from an insurance company.

One important difference between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans: your preferred doctor and your preferred hospital both accept original Medicare, but advantage plans only cover doctors and hospitals within their plan networks.

Be aware of the source of the information you are using, and consider the motives and biases of the source. Old tv and sports stars are not doing commercials for the government, they work for private insurance companies selling products.

Last tip: don't wait until the last minute to seek help during this Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. If you get good quality advice in time to think about your options you are more likely to make the best choice for yourself and get properly enrolled in what you need.

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