October 15th kicked off a new Medicare open enrollment period. Here’s what’s new with this year’s edition.
If you’ve kept a close eye on your Medicare plans in the past, here are some differences you may see since the latest open enrollment period started.
Some Medicare Advantage plans are coming packed with new perks
Vision or dental coverage are a couple of extra benefits offered by many Medicare Advantage plans. While those certainly help keep your health and finances in order, more help could be on the way.
A plethora of Advantage plans will offer additional services that go above and beyond what’s covered in traditional medical care. Caregiver support and adult daycare are expected from approximately 500 plans, while 250 will add in perks like rides to grocery stores, meal delivery, and pest control.
Will having a plan that offers such services make you automatically eligible to receive them? No, as some will use specific conditions or chronic illnesses to determine eligibility.
Regardless, such growth in the number of services offered is a positive sign, and it could point to even more benefits in the future.
When looking at plans, it’s essential to pay attention to the fine print. The fact that these new services that include even pest control won’t be rolled out to everyone in the plan could lead to disappointment.
According to some in the field, you won’t know if you’re eligible for certain supplemental benefits until you’re actually in the plan, so proceed with caution. While some plans may lure you with loads of bells and whistles, they may be features you never get to enjoy.
If you’re not happy with the Advantage plan you pick during the open enrollment, you can change it between January 1st and March 31st. Your options will be to switch to another Advantage plan that better suits your needs, or a standalone prescription plan and Original Medicare.
Changes in costs
Advantage plans carried an average premium of $27 in 2019. That number is expected to drop to $23 next year. This amount is in addition to your Part B premium, which is expected to increase $9 this year from $135.30 to $144.30, according to a Medicare Trustees report.
Deductibles will also rise. Medicare Part A deductibles are expected to jump from $1,364 to $1,420, while Part B deductibles will go from $185 to $197.
Prescription premiums should drop
Government estimates predict standalone prescription drug plan premiums to drop from $32.50 to $30.
The Plan Finder tool has been tweaked
Medicare.gov has a Plan Finder tool that makes it easier to compare your options before settling on one. If you’ve used it in the past, know that this year’s version could take some getting used to.
The new and improved Plan Finder went public in August. Glitches and changes to the system generated complaints from some customers, which led to fixes to make it more user-friendly. Unfortunately, those fixes don’t seem to be enough, as complaints persist.
If you come across any glitches or confusing information when using the Plan Finder, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE for support.