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Medicare open enrollment is coming soon - Which plan is right for you?

Medicare | Oct 06, 2014

Every year between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7, Medicare beneficiaries can take a look at their current plans and make any necessary changes. There is no exact science to choosing your coverage, but there are a few questions you can ask to make sure you will have a plan that is right for you:

Is it your first year on Medicare?
First-time Medicare beneficiaries may find the open enrollment process daunting. There are many Medicare coverage options you need to consider. If it is your first time looking for a Medicare plan, you need to ask yourself these questions as well as get advice from trusted sources that can steer you in the right direction:

How much health care do you need?
When you're choosing your coverage options, you should ask yourself just how much health care you need now - and how much you're likely to need in the year ahead.
If you see doctors mostly for checkups and don't have many prescriptions, a fairly limited plan may be an acceptable choice. However, if you see doctors often and take quite a few prescription medications, you will need to consider Medicare Advantage or supplemental insurance to cover what Original Medicare won't. If these are your top choice, you will also have to determine whether you're all right with staying in a narrow network, or whether you would strongly prefer to keep your current health care team that may not be in some plans' networks. If you travel for a large part of the year, you'll also need a nationwide network, or at least one in both your primary and secondary places of residence.

Has your plan's price changed?
Many Medicare beneficiaries may find their plans have changed in price over the past year. Medicare Advantage plans aren't revealed until Oct. 1, but when they are, you may find your own plan has gotten more expensive, narrowed its network or made other changes that may mean you need to switch. According to newspaper The Democrat and Chronicle, some Medicare Advantage plans have increased sharply in price.

If your plan or your needs are different now than what they were last year, you will need to investigate your options for Medicare coverage. This can feel overwhelming, but there are resources available to you that will help you compare different plans and make a smart choice for your health - and your finances.