5 Mistakes You’re Making With Medicare Open Enrollment
Millions of retirees are in the thick of Medicare open enrollment, which runs from October 15 to December 7, but many find the process challenging. Some don’t understand the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage, many are overwhelmed by Medicare advertising, and only 4 in 10 people review their plan options each year, according to a July 2022 report from healthcare consulting firm Sage Growth Partners.
This leads to Medicare open enrollment misses, including not confirming that your providers are in-network for the next plan year and not comparing your Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage with other available options.
Here are some common Medicare open enrollment mistakes:
1. NOT CHECKING YOUR DOCTORS FOR 2023
If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you generally must get medical care from doctors within that plan’s network — and a plan’s network can change at any time. Before you decide to stick with the plan you’re in, make sure your preferred medical providers are still in the plan’s network in 2023.
This may require some legwork on your part since websites and provider directories aren’t always up to date.
“I was just at a client, and (the plan) said their doctor wasn’t in-network, and it took us calling the provider and looking up a different site on the network side,” says Evan Tunis, president of Florida Healthcare Insurance. “The best thing I would advise is to call the doctor’s office and confirm with them.”
2. NOT COMPARING PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLANS
Whether you have Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage, your prescription drug coverage comes from a private insurance company, and it may change what it covers each year. Your regular prescription medication may cost more in 2023, or an insurer may not cover it at all. (Another plan may also cover it for less.)
It pays to plug your drugs into Medicare.gov to see what plans they suggest for you. Pro tip: If you log into your account at Medicare.gov, your medication history is already there.
“It makes it much easier for them to shop for the next year,” says Katy Votava, who holds a doctorate in health economics and nursing and is president and founder of Goodcare, a consulting firm focused on the economics of Medicare. “They don’t have to tediously put everything in line by line and milligram by milligram.”