This season’s open enrollment period for switching or dropping Medicare health and drug plans for 2018 starts October 15 and ends December 7.
Beneficiaries are receiving letters about their plan changes and the Medicare and You handbooks for 2018 have been mailed. In Minnesota, several health plans have discontinued plans, made plans more regional and in some cases increased premiums or copays. Medicare’s standard deductible for prescription drug plans increased to $405.
Part A and B premiums typically are not announced until late in the year due to the calculations based on the consumer price index.
The Health Care Choices for Minnesotans on Medicare booklet will be available online at a new website: mnhealthcarechoices.com. The Senior LinkAge Line® will have only limited supplies and will be directing computer savvy folks to that website or Medicare.gov. There is no more “press one” to leave your name and address for the booklet to be mailed. Libraries will have a copy or two for patrons to reference.
Senior LinkAge Line® specialists are available 8 am to 4:30 pm, Monday—Friday at 800-333-2433.
Some key points to think about when deciding a health plan are:
- How often do you use the doctor? (chronic disease?)
- Is your doctor/clinic in the plan’s network?
- What cost can you afford for the premium?Deductibles?
- Do you travel out of the network’s area often? If so, what are the out of network costs?
- Are there other special benefits included? Can you add dental care?
- Does the plan include drug coverage that covers your drugs or is a stand alone drug plan better?
To view this Minnesota specific resource online, go to mnhealthcarechoices.com.
To compare drug and health plans on Medicare, go to www.medicare.gov.