New Year, New Goals, and Better Health

Seniors, don’t like your health plan? Switch now!

Following the indulgence of the holidays comes the annual chorus of self-improvement promises, often centered around better health. Perhaps we vow to cut down on sweets, take daily walks around the neighborhood, or, for individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA), one resolution might be to evaluate your insurance plan and see how it can support your 2019 goals.

This new year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)— the federal government agency that presides over many of our nation’s biggest healthcare programs— also wants to help seniors take greater control of their healthcare journey with a major rule change.

The new policy, called the Open Enrollment Period (OEP), allows seniors and others enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan to either switch to another MA plan or switch to traditional Medicare, Part A or B, with the option to also sign up for the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. This switch can be made anytime during the first three months of 2019.

Under the previous healthcare return policy, called the Medicare Advantage

Disenrollment Period, Medicare Advantage enrollees could only switch from an MA plan to traditional Medicare.

What does this mean for Savannah’s residents?

It means that if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan—even if you just signed up during the enrollment period which ended December 7, 2018— you have a three-month period ending March 31, 2019, during which you can switch your plan.

If you find that for some reason the plan you chose isn’t the best fit for your medical needs—maybe you discover your doctor is out of network or your copay is too high—you can make a one-time switch to a different plan, a choice that isn’t limited to giving up the benefits of MA for traditional Medicare.

That said, if your plan is not working for you, I would strongly recommend switching to another Medicare Advantage plan, rather than switching to traditional Medicare.

For more info visit: www.medicarefaq.com/faqs/2019-medic are-open-enroll- ment- period/? eiid= 101 3161732.1549388145

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