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Medicare Open Enrollment Time

While I don’t spend much time here talking about Medicare issues, the end of the year is an important time.  That’s because it is Medicare’s open enrollment period, a once a year special event.

Medicare is one of the many government programs that can be confusing.  There are so many different options to choose from.  There is Part A which is mandatory but then Parts B, C and D are not.  There is a smorgasbord of plans to select from.  But, what if you opt for a plan and later change your mind?

Well, that’s where the seven week period of open enrollment comes in.  The government allows current Medicare enrollees to get into and out of any plan one time a year.  We are about half way thru the current open enrollment period which runs between October 15 and December 7.  (There are other times of the year that allow some changes but they are much more limited.)

So, for example, you can switch from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage (Medicare’s HMO) or from Advantage back to traditional.  You can switch between Medicare Advantage plans.  You can also add drug plans (Part D), change drug plans or drop one entirely.

Of course, having the ability to do this doesn’t mean it’s easy to make the right choice.  There are so many plans to pick from.  Specialty plans are available, for example, which are designed to work well for people who are receiving Medicare and Medicaid or Medicare and certain VA benefits.

The bad part about having so much variety is that making the right decision is that much harder.  Like anything else, however, getting the right guidance from a qualified and knowledgeable specialist can make all the difference.  It is just impossible to make such an important decision without getting the answers to all your questions first.  Those Medicare insurance specialist are out there.  You just have to seek them out, but don’t delay, because if you miss the window you’ll likely have to wait an entire year.