Connect One Health reminds Baby Boomers that the open enrollment for Medicare is October 15 -December 7, 2014. This is a chance for those seniors who are over the age of 65 to make changes to their Medicare insurance plan.

What does this mean for seniors?

Throughout the year, Medicare offers certain types of enrollment periods. Each period offers something different. The Medicare Open Enrollment period is designed to allows seniors to switch plans.

  • If you have Medicare Part A then you can switch to Medicare C.
  • If you already have Medicare part C you can switch back to Medicare Part A.
In the realm of prescription drug coverage, known as Medicare Part D, you can make changes too. If you are not happy with Medicare Part D, you can change prescription drug plans. The next opportunity for changes will be from January 1 – February 15, 2015. That is a time when only those with Medicare Advantage plans will can switch from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Medicare.

What is on the Horizon for Medicare and Medicare Advantage?

There are some big changes for Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans in the near future. The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 mandates cuts to the subsidized payments that the federal government makes to Medicare Advantage carriers. What this means is that the government has been subsidizing part of the cost of offering insurance to seniors to non-governmental insurance carriers and the time for reducing those payments is drawing near. In fact, by 2022 the subsidies to non-governmental carriers will need to drop by $160 Billion dollars.

Between now and 2022 expect that services from Medicare Advantage carriers will shrink and or the cost of services will rise in price. Seniors who are on a fixed income will need to pay close attention to what those changes are going to bring.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, it is a good idea to check in with your plan to see if your premiums are going to rise. Your insurance carrier should have already sent you information about changes to your policy. If they have not, be sure to call them to find out what kinds of changes you might be expecting. You can also call your care providers, such as your doctors and healthcare facilities. By asking them is, they are still accepting your insurance plan and if they foresee changes to costs, or drops in services can also be a good way to find out how these changes will affect you.

The biggest changes may mean that you have to give up your HMO or PPO plan and head back to Medicare. It may also mean that there are other plans that are similar to your current plan, but that will continue to offer the same level of care with little or no price increase. When it comes to rising prices and senior health care, it is always a good idea to shop around. If you have questions about plans or enrollment period, Connect One Health is here for you.