Choosing your Medicare Plan for 2024

Some Tips for the Upcoming Enrollment Period

The following reminders are ones that I do for myself each year. I am not an insurance agent, nor do I profess to be able to answer all the questions that you will need to ask your insurance agent or insurance company. These are the experts and should be able to ask all of your questions. Note that your insurance company most likely won’t have all the details of the plans you might be interested in until it is actually Open Enrollment. Medicare determines when the insurance companies can begin to sell or see all of the details of the individual plans.

The Open Enrollment Period for choosing you upcoming year’s Medicare Advantage plans is October 15th to December 7th. This time period is determined by Medicare and not by your insurance company and will need to be adhered to in order to make any changes you wish to make to your coverage without risking any late enrollment penalties. You will still need to abide by the time frames in place for your first-time enrollment into Medicare, obtaining Medicare due to becoming disabled, or changing plans due to a life event such as retirement.

Note that Medicare Supplement plans Open Enrollment begins the first day of the month you turn 65 until 6 months later. (Medigap Open Enrollment). You have six months to assure that you will not be denied for this Medicare plan in this time period. Contact Medicare or your insurance agent to discuss specifics.

Things you need to consider before choosing your plan…

First and Foremost: You need to choose the best plan for you. You are unique, and not every plan will fit your individual needs. Be it a Medicare Supplemental plan or Medicare Advantage Plan. You will need to decide what YOU require of your plan and then ask lots of questions of your insurance company or insurance agent when making your choice. Research your choices. Don’t be afraid of requiring a clear explanation of all of your benefits and responsibilities.

  1. Consider your health today as well as how your health might change. It’s great to have a free gym membership or prescription copays (or no copay at all), but how does your chosen plan work if tomorrow you are faced with a healthcare crisis? It’s great to have free gym memberships, zero copays and even no yearly deductibles. Did you check out what your costs will be if you require special services like home health care or need assistance with transportation should you not be able to drive? What if you need to be in a nursing facility for a time? Ask what your responsibilities will be up front.
  2. Consider what yearly Deductibles that you can afford, if any, when healthcare needs come up. Not everyone has $10,000 in the bank to fulfill up front. What benefits might you not have if you choose a plan with no deductibles? What is your total Out of Pocket costs for the plan?
  3. Read through The Donut Hole on this site or online. We will all pay approximately a lot more money out of pocket for our medication when we enter The Donut Hole. This coverage stage can last for months depending on the prescriptions you are on. Factor these costs into your choices of Medicare plans when deciding what plan, you can afford.
  4. You might choose a supplement Medicare policy. You will also need to have a Medicare D plan in addition.

Note: Remember that you MUST maintain a plan for your prescriptions to avoid Late Penalty Fees which last forever. You can purchase a plan for prescriptions “Part D” Medicare separate of a supplement plan as a ‘stand-alone’ plan, or with a Medicare Advantage plan if included in the plan. Contact Medicare if you have questions regarding setting up your prescription plan. 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

If you have a Special Needs Plan (SNP) which is a plan where both federal and state programs work together to assist with costs for those who qualify, please note that these plans may vary from state to state, as well as the list of providers in that plan. As with all plans, they will likely change from year to year, and you will need to speak to someone who understands these plans when asking questions about extra coverage for skilled nursing facilities and other coverages built into these plans. Your agent or insurance company should be able to either answer your questions or get you to the appropriate person to speak to. If you have Medicare and Medicaid, you need to ask about any changes from your previous year’s plan.

Contact Medicare by phone: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

Read about dates and Medicare at: (Do read the information on the Site List at the bottom of the page as well)

Welcome to Medicare | Medicare

When does Medicare coverage start? | Medicare

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