Medicare’s Open Enrollment is almost over! It ends on Wednesday, December 7. Also referred to as the Annual Election Period (AEP), this is an important time to closely evaluate your current health coverage and whether it is still a good fit for 2023. If not, you can switch health plans, return to Original Medicare or join a health plan if you are already in Original Medicare.
Options for coverage abound and knowing your options and how to compare them are important for making a good choice. Here are some resources to make the most of the AEP’s final days:
- Read our page on the AEP. It gives the details on what you can do during the AEP, has links and resources for information on health care options and your rights, and lists frequently asked questions on the topic.
- Contact your local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) to review your current plan and plans (Medicare Advantage plans, Part D prescription drug plans and Medigap plans) in your area. As the AEP ends Wednesday, if you can’t get an appointment before December 7, you can make an appointment for January.
- Review these Part D plan comparison charts (PDFs): Part D stand-alone prescription drug plans and Part D benchmark plans (for people receiving the Extra Help, aka the low-income subsidy (LIS)).
- Visit the Medicare Plan Finder on Medicare.gov to compare health and drug plans, compare Medigap policies, find out which plans cover the drugs you’re taking, and to enroll in a health or drug plan.
A note on insulin cost-sharing limits due to the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA): The IRA limits the out-of-pocket cost for all insulin drugs to no more than $35 per 30-day prescription under all Medicare drug prescription plans. Yet, this change in the law took effect too late for the $35 copay limit to be reflected in the drug cost estimates in the Medicare Plan Finder. As a result, when you (or someone on your behalf) researches the cost of insulin drugs on the Plan Finder, the old, out-of-date copays for insulin drugs still appear. It is therefore especially important if you or a loved one uses insulin to get help from your local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) (or your local SHIP if you’re another state) to understand the true cost of your insulin options and to thereby determine which plan best meets your needs at the lowest cost.
If come January, you are unsatisfied with your health coverage choice, you may have some options to make a change. People enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan have the opportunity to switch plans or return to Original Medicare and get a Part D plan during the first 3 months of the year in the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. You can also review the available Special Election Periods (SEP), including a SEP if an insurance agent gave you false or misleading information that misguided your plan choice, or for COVID-19 related challenges, to see if you qualify for an opportunity to change coverage.
Call your local HICAP for more information and/or to schedule an appointment for assistance.
And if you encounter any suspected marketing or enrollment fraud, report it to our California Senior Medicare Patrol at 1-855-613-7080.