Each year during open enrollment (mid-October to mid-December) Medicare is required by law to give people the opportunity to potentially change their plans. However, instead of being happy about open enrollment, some beneficiaries actually get annoyed by the big hype. If you have ever been one of those people, you may want to reconsider. There are a few reasons why this service may be essential for you or your partner and why you may want to consider it seriously.

Advantage Plan Options

As you are most likely aware, the Medicare Advantage program is great. There are several different plan options for each company you may want to sign up with, offering a variety of different care plans. Advantage plans are a great way to pay as you go for your healthcare needs, instead of paying one large upfront cost like supplemental plans require. These plans are perfect for people who are relatively healthy for their age. Each plan gives you an upfront cost for copayments, hospital stays, medications, and even some perks like gym memberships. If you feel like you are not getting enough coverage with your current plan, open enrollment allows you to switch to any advantage plan for the next calendar year. 


If your health should take a turn for the worse, there are still options. Depending on who your advantage plan is with, you may be able to upgrade to a supplemental plan. Supplemental plans (also called Medigap plans) are kind of all-inclusive care, though they can be a bit pricey. They are a way to pay one upfront payment for all of your healthcare needs, instead of having to pay for each doctor's appointment individually. It should be noted that not every supplemental plan allows you to upgrade from an advantage plan. Talk to your insurance company for more information.

New Drug Plan

With changes in your health comes changes in your treatments and medications. Due to the fact that advantage plans include drug plans, you may need to switch your plan to make sure your drugs are all covered. Each Part D plan has a specific formulary (a list which dictates which medications are covered and which are not). You should make sure that all of your medications are covered before choosing a new plan. 

In conclusion, just because open enrollment may not be helpful to you currently, you may someday appreciate it. If you feel that you may want to look into changing your plan, visit medicare.gov for more information or contact other resources to learn about Medicare Advantage enrollment.