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What Everyone Ought to Know about Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare open enrollment and health insurance choices

Medicare open enrollment is October 15 – December 7 every year. This is your opportunity to review your current plan, coverages and costs. You need to determine whether to stay with your current plan or if you want to change to a new plan.

As much as you may want to rely on an insurance salesperson to direct you, many of the choices and decisions you need to make to determine the best policy are very personal choices – and most likely only decisions you can make. It is startling to me to be shopping at the Dollar Tree (one of my favorites) and walk out and see a card table set up with someone trying to sell me a health insurance policy. REALLY!!!!

Before you get started, below are the items you should have ready:

  • Name & DOB
  • Medicare Number and effective dates for Part A and Part B
  • List of prescriptions and pharmacy address(es)

If you need any help completing the steps below or have any questions, call your Aging Wisely expert.

8 steps to completing your Medicare Open Enrollment:

#1 You start by going to the website

#2 Click on Review your health and prescription drug coverage options.

Medicare open enrollment page review choices

#3 Next step is completing the Personalized Search.

personalized choice in Medicare open enrollment

#4 Your home zip code, your Medicare number if you are already enrolled, your last name, and your effective dates for Medicare Part A and Part B.

#5 What plan you currently have? For example, Medicare, a Medicare Plan (aka as an Advantage Plan), you don’t have a plan yet, or if you don’t know you have the option of stating I don’t know what plan I have.

#6 The next question asks you to list all of your medications and dosages. The easiest place to find this information is directly from the container your medication comes in from the pharmacy. If you do not have the container(s) you will need to call the pharmacy and ask them for a list or better yet, stop by the pharmacy and ask them to print you a list.

Bonus Tip: If you use more than one pharmacy, one of your New Year’s resolutions needs to be to commit to one pharmacy. Managing your prescriptions appropriately as well as one pharmacist reviewing your medications is an invaluable resource. When you have a primary care physician as well as specialists prescribing your medications it is typically the pharmacist that can review the medications and look for concerns or issues you need to know and address with your healthcare providers.

#7 Once you have entered in each of your medications and dosages, the next question asks for the name and address of your pharmacy. You can find the name and address of the pharmacy on the medication container.

#8 Upon entering all of the above information the next screen allows you to apply a variety of filters, for example, limit plan premium, select star ratings, etc.… if you want to reduce the number of the choices. Otherwise, you may go directly to review the following:

making decisions about MedicareA. Prescription Plans (Part D) with Regular Medicare
B. Medicare Health Plans (Medicare Advantage Plans) with Drug Coverage
C. Medicare Health Plans without Drug Coverage

The options are listed and you can make a decision from the list. My list came up with over 40 choices – so my work to make a decision is still not done.

How do I decide which plan is best for me?

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