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Medicare Madness

It's Open Enrollment season for Medicare, so if you're old enough to remember watching The Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show," you should read on for important information.

 Open Enrollment, which continues from now until December 7, allows Medicare beneficiaries to change their Advantage, Supplement, and Part D Prescription coverage. The potential for improved benefits and/or premium savings can be significant. There is always something new. Medigap supplemental Plan F, for example, won't be available for people turning 65 after 2019. A number of alternatives exist. Rates and availability vary by state.

Sifting through the options can be daunting. Medicare's website has some online tools. In addition, you can reach out to the people at Medicare BackOffice. They offer comprehensive support. Their FAQs below are quite helpful:

Why is open enrollment and reviewing my plan now so important?
Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans can change each year, meaning the amounts you pay in premiums and deductibles could increase. Insurance carriers also can change their drug formularies, meaning a drug that costs you a few dollars each month could double or triple in price next year if dropped from your carrier’s formulary. Reviewing your plans is one of the best ways to manage your long-term retirement plan because you can identify any changes that could add up expenses over time, or that could quickly lead to financial hardship. Plus, you could even find a plan with better coverage.

Can I change my Medicare Supplement during open enrollment?
Yes, if you have a Medicare Supplement plan instead of Medicare Advantage, it can be a good idea to review your plan because Medicare Supplement premiums and plans also can change. However, know that switching Medicare Supplement policies could require you to submit to a medical underwriting process that could result in a higher rate or denial based on its findings.

Why is an annual review of my Medicare Part D Prescription Drug coverage especially important each year?
If you have new medications, have switched medications or your insurance carrier changes its drug formulary, your costs could skyrocket if you don’t carefully review your current plan. And switching to a plan because you can save on the monthly premium could be costly, too. The plans with the lowest premiums are not always the better financial choice. The cost of one month’s worth of one drug that’s not on your plan’s formulary could exceed an entire year’s worth of your monthly premiums.

Let me know if I can be of assistance.

Musical Treat

See if you can find out what's odd about this live version of "When I'm 64" by the Fab Four.