Open enrollment for Medicare begins on October 15th, 2021, and runs until December 7, 2021. During this time Medicare enrollees can shop and compare different plans. Any changes made to your current plan will go into effect in January of 2022. Enrollees can search for new plans using the Plan Finder tool from Medicare. Shopping for a new plan is important because it could help save you money or expand your benefits.
It Could Save You Money
Research has shown that many Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Part D plan (about 75 percent in 2013) aren’t in the most cost-effective plan for their needs. During the study period, Part D enrollees were — on average — spending an extra $300 a year or around 15 percent of their expected out-of-pocket costs. This same research also found that in general, enrollees who switched plans during their open enrollment period had better outcomes than those that re-enrolled in the same plan. It’s possible that you are already enrolled in the best plan for your needs, but comparing plans can confirm it.
Plans’ benefit designs can change from year to year and you might find a plan that offers expanded coverage, or a plan that covers your prescription drug costs at a lower price. If you have started any new medications it would also be wise to search to see if there’s a plan that has a lower copay for that medication(s).
Other Things to Keep in Mind
Even if you aren’t currently taking any prescription drugs it might be worth it to enroll in a cheap Part D plan to avoid the late-enrollment penalty if you start a prescription later.
The Plan Finder tool will allow you to compare coverage between Medicare Advantage and Part D plans.
Pay attention to the Star Ratings that the plans have. Higher stars mean that the program is doing well on a number of measures that can impact your care.
Searching for a new Medicare plan can be hard. If you need help exploring different plan options you can call 1-800-MEDICARE or contact your state’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). You can also check out this guide to Medicare Open Enrollment for 2022.