Managing retirement money often includes managing health care costs. If you’re on Medicare, we suggest you take a look at those costs: from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 you can enroll* or make changes to your plans.
It’s important to be aware of the time limitation so that you don’t miss your opportunity and have to wait until next year to make any changes. It’s also important to consider your plans carefully. This Medicare open enrollment checklist can help you to do just that.
1. Review your plan notices.
Read all notices from your Medicare plan about changes for next year, especially the annual notice of change letter. At a minimum, we suggest you make sure your current or anticipated prescription drugs are covered, and your current or anticipated doctors are still in the network. Don't take for granted that they are. Otherwise you could be in a position of having to pay these bills out of pocket.
2. Think about what matters most to you right now.
Medicare health and drug plans change each year, and so can your health needs. Do you need a primary care doctor? Does your network include the specialist you want for an upcoming surgery? Does your current plan cover your medications? Does another plan offer the same value at lower costs? We suggest you consider these and similar needs in detail before making decisions.
3. Find out if you qualify for help paying for Medicare.
Medicare Parts A and B have deductibles, coinsurance, co-payments and Medicare prescription drug coverage costs. Luckily, there are some government programs that can assist with costs. You can go to medicare.gov to learn if you qualify for help with Medicare or to find information about your State Health Insurance Assistance Program.
4. Shop for plans that meet your needs and fit your budget.
Medicare.gov has a useful tool called the Medicare Plan Finder that lists plans offered in your area. You can use it to help compare plans.
5. Check your plan's rating before you enroll.
The Medicare Plan Finder also lists star ratings for Medicare health and prescription drug plans. You can use these ratings to help compare the quality of any health care drug plans that you are considering.
A few more things to know: If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch back to original Medicare if that better suits your needs. You can also decide to do nothing if you believe your current coverage is still the best choice, but remember to consider any changes to your plan. Most of all, make sure to review your plan in order to help make the best choice for your health, and your money.
*If you’re not on Medicare yet and plan to enroll soon, there’s a seven-month Initial Enrollment Period that begins three months before the month you turn 65, includes the month of your 65th birthday, and ends three months after the month you turn 65.
Ken Moraif is the CEO and founder of Retirement Planners of America (RPOA), a Dallas-based wealth management and investment firm with over $3.58 billion in assets under management and serving 6,635 households in 48 states (as of Dec. 31, 2023).
JetBlue Follows American Airlines in Raising Checked Bag Fees
JetBlue says the higher baggage fee will help offset the increased costs of transporting bags.
By Jamie Feldman Published
Stock Market Today: Stocks End Mixed After Fed Minutes
Another down day for Nvidia dragged on the Nasdaq.
By Karee Venema Published
Workplace Financial Coaching Has Become Ever More Important
Employees face growing challenges to their financial wellness today, so it’s more critical than ever that employers provide the help they need to navigate them.
By Greg Ward, CFP® Published
Looking into Leasing Solar Panels? Think Twice
Leasing solar panels hasn’t turned into the great deal that many expected as solar companies go out of business and tax breaks and incentives get slashed.
By H. Dennis Beaver, Esq. Published
Three Reasons Not to Use a Real Estate Agent When You Sell
While this financial adviser doesn’t recommend taking that route, he does see scenarios where it could make sense for you.
By Evan T. Beach, CFP®, AWMA® Published
Soon-to-Be Retirees, Beware: Small-Caps Are Cheap for a Reason
Higher interest rates make debt more expensive for smaller companies, and that could become challenging for them if we head into slower economic times.
By Michael Joseph, CFA Published
The Five Stages of Retirement (and How to Skip Three of Them)
Getting the first step wrong inevitably means you’ll go through stages three through five. Get step one right, and it’s a two-step process.
By Richard P. Himmer, PhD Published
Six Financial Actions to Take the Year Before Retirement
Having your income, health care and tax plans in place before you exit the day job can make it more likely that you'll have a happy retirement.
By Evan T. Beach, CFP®, AWMA® Published
How Does a Gray Divorce Affect Social Security Benefits?
Can you claim your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefits? The answer is yes, as long as you meet certain criteria.
By Andrew Hatherley, CDFA®, CRPC® Published
Great Wealth Transfer: How Families Can Get on the Same Page
Communication and planning are key to ensure parents and kids are clear about the assets being transferred and how they’ll be used for future generations.
By Kelley Wolfington, CTFA Published