October 15 starts Medicare open enrollment; shop wisely

October 15 marks the beginning of the 2022 Medicare Open Enrollment period for Advantage plans and Part D drug plans.

The Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) wants to remind older adults to be smart consumers as they consider the plethora of advertising aimed at them through TV, Internet, and mail. Open enrollment period gives Medicare beneficiaries the chance to consider options in prescription drug coverage, as well as the Medicare replacement plans, also called Medicare Advantage plans. The enrollment period ends Dec. 7.

There are some steps that you can take to help make the best decision for you. Compile an updated list of your prescription medications. Watch for the announcements from your current plan providers about changes in benefits, premiums, and coinsurance for 2023. This information is important because these plans change from year to year; in addition, your medication needs may have changed.

Analyze the benefits of advantage plans that include “extras” such as meals, transportation, exercise classes, etc. Often, these benefits are provided only to those beneficiaries whose medical diagnoses allow for them. The best way to understand these kinds of plans is to carefully consider the plans’ provisions and not rely on advertising only. Read the fine print.

The SMP encourages you to seek advice from CLAIM, the official State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). CLAIM Medicare counseling services are free, unbiased, and confidential. CLAIM is not an insurance agency, does not sell anything, and does not accept payment for services. Call 1-800-390-3330 to reach a CLAIM counselor. Call the SMP at 1-888-515-6565 if you think you or a loved one is the victim of Medicare fraud or abuse.

This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90MPPG0040, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.

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