Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have continued in popularity with over 22 million enrollees for 2019 according to CMS, an increase of over 32% since 2015. While beneficial, is still a confusing product for most. As a result, most on Medicare will stay with a plan simply out of the intimidation of the process. Thankfully, due to the 21 Century Cures Act, you have an extended time frame for enrollment this year. You now have until March 31, 2019 to change your Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, or switch to ‘traditional’ Medicare and purchase a Part D prescription plan (You cannot change Part D plans during this 1st quarter time frame). This time can best be served by more education of the plans in your area, as some markets can have up to a dozen plans to select from. According to CMS, these changes will take place the first month after the plan receives your request.
As you investigate the many offerings in your area, first review your current insurance coverage and what you may need in the coming year or gaps that currently exist. Do not get lured simply by the low premiums, while attractive, may not be the solution you need. Some plans will also come with other appealing options such as gym memberships or dental coverage. However, they can also change annually and limit your provider network / selection. Be sure to stay focused on the entire coverage of services, including your providers, hospital, and prescription needs.
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