- medicareresources.org Editor
- December 7, 2016
For 2017 Medicare coverage, today is your last day of open enrollment. (It’s October 15 to December 7, 2016). That means that if you’re interested in changing your Medicare coverage, you need to shop today.
Take our new Medicare Smarts Quiz to see if you are ready to shop for new coverage.
What is Medicare Open Enrollment?
The annual open enrollment period is an annual opportunity for Medicare beneficiaries to change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage. Because Medicare health plans and drug plans can make changes – to costs, benefits and networks – it’s definitely worth your time to see if you can improve on the coverage you have.
During open enrollment, options include:
- switching from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage or vice versa,
- switching from on Medicare Advantage plan to another,
- enrolling in a Part D Prescription Drug Plan for the first time,
- switching from one Part D plan to another,
- dropping Part D coverage altogether.
Medicare Open Enrollment is actually just one of a handful of opportunities for beneficiaries to change coverage.
Knowing your coverage options is critical
Regardless of whether you’re new to Medicare or tweaking your coverage, medicareresources.org is your guide through that maze, featuring an extensive collection of resources:
- a guide to Medicare’s plan options and benefits, from physical therapy to hospital beds and hospice care;
- explanations of when you can – and can’t – change your Medicare coverage
- an explanation of the gaps in its coverage
- eligibility and enrollment guidelines;
- a glossary of Medicare terms;
- answers to the most frequently asked questions;
- links to dozens of resources, including providers and plans that are right for your needs.
The health of Medicare
Despite critics’ claims that the ACA would weaken Medicare, the ACA has had the opposite effect. According to a 2014 report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the ACA “substantially improved [Medicare’s] financial outlook” The Medicare trust fund is now expected to remain solvent until 2030, which is 13 years beyond what was projected without the ACA.
Medicare has also been strengthened through ACA’s addition of free preventive services – including immunizations, mammograms, and other cancer screenings. The prescription drug “donut hole” is also continuing to shrink and will be eliminated by 2020.
That’s all good news, considering that millions of Americans now pay into Medicare through payroll taxes and are anxiously waiting to become eligible for its benefits.