How To Navigate Medicare Open Enrollment (2021/22 Edition)
Wondering about your options for Medicare Open Enrollment? We’ve got you covered with ways to find your best choices, comparison shop, and make the best selection for your programs.
Doctor holds sign that says open enrollment

Are you hearing a lot about Medicare Open Enrollment—but feeling a little overwhelmed? It turns out you are not alone. In this article, we’ve gathered the key information to help you navigate this time for the best possible outcomes. Let’s dive in.

What Is Medicare Open Enrollment?

Each year, Medicare offers up Open Enrollment. This year Open Enrollment will run from October 15 - January 7th, 2022. During this time you can enroll in Medicare health and drug plans. This is the time to review your plan, get information, and make any adjustments that you feel are beneficial.

Here are the top tips to help you get ready for navigating the many options.

Check Your Mail

It may seem almost too obvious. However, you will get notices from Medicare or Social Security by mail. If you are in a Medicare plan, you’ll get notifications of changes. This notification is called an “Annual Notice of Changes” or ANOC.

The annual notice details any changes in your plan such as premiums, deductibles, copays, and coverage.

The changes may affect your health coverage or drug plans.

Tip: Insurance companies and drug plans are not allowed to call or come to your home without an invitation. Be alert that this time of year can often come with an increase in Medicare fraud.

Review Your Coverage

Since this is the time of year when it’s possible to make changes, it makes sense to review your coverage. Are you sure your current coverage is working for your needs? If your current coverage is working and is still available for next year, you do not need to take any action.

Evaluate Your Options

During open enrollment, you have the option to switch coverage.

What types of coverage might you be considering?

  • You could switch from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
  • You could opt for a Medicare Advantage plan to original Medicare
  • You could change from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different one
  • You could join a Part D drug plan for the first time
  • You could switch from a Part D drug plan to another
  • You could pick a Medicare Advantage plan drug coverage to one without or the opposite

With this year’s extended timeframe for Open Enrollment, you have thirty extra days to evaluate your best choices.

Compare Coverage Plans

Young woman assists older woman at a computer

You can search online to compare coverage options. This makes it easy to do, without leaving the comfort of your home. You can compare different health plans and evaluate prescription drug plans.

If you have a Medicare number, you can log in to the government website to compare your options online. This will help you to see your choices and comparison shop.

Talk To a Medicare Representative

If you prefer speaking with someone on the phone, it’s easy to call Medicare’s helpline at 800-633-4227. You can ask a customer service rep to perform a search similar to what you would do in an online plan-finder search.

Contact Your State Counselor

Each state offers personal help. This program is called the state health insurance assistance program or SHIP. You can find out the details by going to www.shiptacenter.org and select your state.

Once you get the information, contact your state for free personal help. Just ask for a counselor to help you identify the plan you need. Focus on your specific needs and preferences.

Share Insights With Friends

Three older men smile happily

You are not the only one seeking input, insights, and advice. If you have friends, neighbors, and associates who are on Medicare, share your findings.

If you have just spoken with a reputable and helpful Health Insurance Counselor, share the good news. Your friends will be delighted to have professional help in navigating the maze.

Get Personal Help

You may have heard of Chapter, an official partner of the National Council on Aging. Chapter and NCOA work together to help people find the best Medicare benefits while minimizing complexity. You may be able to find a better plan and simplify the process. Best of all, there is no charge to work with Chapter advisors.

Get Help with an Online Service

Many people are turning to online services for plan selection. One such service is eHealth. This online program offers plans from numerous health insurance companies. You can compare plans and find the premium and program that works best for you.

In addition, you can have a sense of security as eHealth was founded in 1997 and has been publicly traded since 2006. Additionally, you have the option to get agent support without paying an additional fee. Agents from eHealth are licensed insurance agents and are said to offer advice without cost or obligation to enroll.

If you’re looking for further reasons, eHealth has served more than 3 million Medicare customers, and according to their website has found them potential savings of up to $782 per year.

Talk To A Local Health Insurance Counselor

At this time of year, many local health insurance counselors advertise their services. You may be able to talk with a reputable counselor in your neighborhood or community. He or she can help you get information, personalized advice, and even assistance with plans that cover your preferred hospital.

Assistance Club Summary

Now is the best time to take a look at your insurance coverage and evaluate your options. If you need assistance, reach out to the many agencies that are ready to help.