Today is the final day to apply for medicare.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a narrow window of opportunity available for people with Medicare who want to review their coverage options and make a choice that meets their health care needs. Medicare’s Open Enrollment period gives those who rely on Medicare the opportunity to make changes to their health plans or prescription drug plans, pick a Medicare Advantage Plan, or return to Original Medicare, according to a press release.
The Medicare Open Enrollment period occurs every year from October 15 through December 7, with coverage changes taking effect January 1. During this time, people can find a plan that better meets their needs, saves money, or both.
“This is an important time of year for 63 million Medicare beneficiaries across the country to compare coverage options to ensure they are getting the best benefits available at low cost,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in a press release. “We will continue to strengthen and build upon this critical program that has vastly improved the lives of our seniors. I encourage everyone to take stock of their health and find the best plan for them in 2022.”
Medicare plans can change year to year – even an enrollee’s current calendar year 2021 plan may have changes for 2022. Medicare.gov makes it easier than ever to compare coverage options and shop for plans. People can do a side-by-side comparison of plan coverage, costs, and quality ratings to help them more easily see the differences between plans.
“Medicare Open Enrollment is an important time of year for people with Medicare and their families to review their options and make choices about the health care coverage that best meets their needs,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “It is also a time for people with Medicare to check their eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs, which can help with premiums and other costs. Enrollment assistance is available in your community and 24/7 at 1-800-MEDICARE to connect you to coverage that best fits your needs and budget.”
Here are some things to consider when shopping for Medicare coverage:
- Check if doctors are still in-network and prescriptions are on the plan’s formulary.
- Realize that the plan with the lowest monthly premium may not always be the best fit for specific health needs.
- Look at the plan’s deductible and other out-of-pocket costs that factor into total costs.
- Know that some plans offer extra benefits, like vision, hearing, or dental coverage, which could help meet individual health care needs.
- Consider whether Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan is the best choice.
Medicare is Here to Help
Here are four ways you can compare plans and look at savings options:
- Find plans at Medicare.gov and do side-by-side comparisons of costs and coverage.
- Call 1-800-MEDICARE. Help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends.
- Access personalized health insurance counseling at no cost, available from State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Visit shiptacenter.org or call 1-800-MEDICARE for each SHIP’s phone number. Many SHIPs also offer virtual counseling.
- Check eligibility for Medicare Savings Programs. People with Medicare facing challenges paying for health care may qualify for Medicare Saving Programs run by their state. These programs can help save money on premiums, prescription drugs, and other health care costs. If your income for 2021 is below $18,000, it may be worth contacting your state’s Medicaid program about help that may be available to you. Contact 1-800-MEDICARE to find out where to apply.
For more information, visit Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users can call 1-877-486-2048. Help is available 24 hours a day, including weekends.