Time is operating out to make adjustments to your Medicare protection for 2021. Because of this you must evaluate your choices

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You don't have much time to review your Medicare coverage annually and make changes for 2021.

The program's annual registration period ends on December 7th. If you take no action, you will automatically remain enrolled in your current plan. However, passing the opportunity to see if there is a better option can come at a cost.

"We find many circumstances in which changing plans will benefit our policyholders," said Danielle Roberts, co-founder of insurance company Boomer Benefits. "But sometimes we find that someone has the best plan for them as early as next year … and they can automatically renew their current plan."

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In simple terms, this Fall Annual Open Enrollment Period is for adding or changing coverage related to a Benefit Plan (Medicare Part C) and Prescription Drugs (Part D). You can change, add or delete these parts of your cover.

Of the nearly 63 million people enrolled in Medicare, most of whom are 65 years of age or older, about a third choose to receive their benefits through benefit plans offered by private insurers.

The rest remains with Original Medicare: Part A (inpatient care) and Part B (outpatient care). These beneficiaries often combine this with a standalone Part-D plan and / or a Medicare add-on plan (also known as Medigap), both of which are also offered by private insurance companies.

As of 2021, the average beneficiary has access to 33 benefit plans, research by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows. A total of 3,550 such plans will be available, an increase of 13% over this year. This means that the situation may be different for 2021, even if you haven't asked for a different option in the past.

While insurers are regulated, the specifics can vary widely from plan to plan, county to county, and year to year. Changes can affect coverage aspects such as premiums, deductibles, co-payments, covered services as well as participating doctors and other providers.

Also note that the standard monthly premium for Part B will be higher for the next year ($ 148.50 versus $ 144.60 in 2020), as are the additional amounts paid by higher income beneficiaries for the Part B and D are paid (see diagrams).

Whether it's a benefit plan or a standalone Part-D plan, Roberts says it's important to make sure the plan covers your prescriptions. Sometimes your existing coverage remains the best option, but sometimes there is a different plan that would be less costly.

"You don't want to go to the pharmacy in January and discover that a drug that you paid $ 40 for is now $ 400," Roberts said.

Other terms of your coverage may change with Advantage Plans. For example, the spending limit will be $ 7,550 in 2021, up from $ 6,700 this year, Roberts said.

If you select a benefit plan during fall registration and then find that it doesn't fit well, you can switch to a different one or go back to Original Medicare (and pick up a standalone Part-D plan) between January 1st and March 31st .

You can check drug prices through the government's Medicare plan finder.

To make sure your doctor, pharmacy, or preferred hospital is on the network, contact the insurance company offering the plan and confirm it with the provider.

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