Seniors Should Watch For Changes To Their Medicare Plans

Oct 14, 2016

Seniors who like their Medicare choice this year, shouldn't assume it will be the same next year.

A doctor in your network this year could be out of network next year. The same goes for a prescription drug that is covered this year.

Seniors who aren't comparison shopping during Medicare open enrollment, could see their costs increase.

Colleen Krepstekies with the AARP says her agency can connect seniors to organizations that can help them navigate the enrollment process.

“We want to make sure that people are aware that this is their time to change their policy if they've had a change in their own personal health or their income,” Krepstekies said. 

Medicare consumers should closely read their annual notices of change, which they should have received at the end of September, said Kyrie-Leigh Chambliss, volunteer manager for SHINE, which stands for Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders.

The notices contain information about changes that providers are making to their plans for the coming year, Chambliss said.

Last year, Chambliss said she had a client who did not change his provider for several years and was paying about $7,000 for his prescriptions each year. A SHINE counselor helped him find a plan that provided the same coverage and reduced his costs for prescriptions to $2,000 a year, Chambliss said.

SHINE has councilors who are available to help seniors enroll in Medicare and apply for financial assistance if needed.

The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation also offers a free online resource called the CHOICES system, which helps consumers search for available Medicare Supplement (also known as Medigap) policies and provides the price of each.

Medicare open enrollment runs through Dec. 7.

For more information, visit the AARP’s Medicare page or SHINE.