The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is October 15 through December 17.
During this period each year, people have the chance to make changes to their Medicare plans.
However there are many misconceptions to Medicare that make it difficult to choose the correct plan according to Trey Peterson, a Financial Professional at Guardian Wealth Strategies.
“What a lot of people don’t realize is only Medicare Part A is free, so depending on your situation if you are retiring at age 65, typically we get Medicare through the government but when it comes to the supplements we are going through private insurance,” said Peterson. “Even if you are already enrolled in Medicare making sure you have the best of what’s available is really important.”
Peterson recommends those already enrolled in Medicare to review their plans during the open enrollment period each year.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program enacted in 1965 and is available for people age 65 and older, younger people with disabilities and people with End Stage Renal Disease.
People turning 65 can enroll in Medicare three months before or after their birth month.
Medicare Part A provides coverage for hospital care, Part B provides coverage for outpatient care and Part D covers prescription drugs.
While Part A can be free, the others have deductibles and out of pocket expenses.
Peterson says some people will look to a Medicare Advantage Plan, or Part C Medicare, for things like dental care, eye care and hearing aids which are not covered by typical Medicare.
“The Medicare Advantage Plan is actually insurance purchased through private insurance company but contracted through Medicare,” said Peterson.
Peterson says applying for Medicare can consist of a lot of paperwork which is why many people choose to work with financial experts to find the best plans for them.
“Don’t take it on your own,” said Peterson. “You can do it online but do it with an expert because this is something where you can make costly mistakes.”
Peterson also says for those who are 65 and older and still working, it may be better to wait to enroll in Medicare.
“If you are still working, insurance through your employer typically is less expensive I would say 80% to 90% of the time,” said Peterson.