• Wiser Medicare

A Checklist for Navigating the 2023 Open Enrollment Period

Updated: Oct 27

Open Enrollment affects you if you have a Medicare Advantage plan or a standalone Medicare Part D prescription drug plan added to your Original Medicare coverage. You may also want to switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage.


With the Open Enrollment period upon us, it's time to invest a couple of minutes to be sure you are in the best plan for your needs and circumstances.

Those minutes can be spent answering two questions: (1) Am I perfectly happy with my plan? And (2) Do I know enough about the alternatives to be sure of my answer?


If you have any doubts, here's a checklist you can follow to help make your decision. Or you can contact a licensed insurance agent for assistance.


Your first step is to find and read the Annual Notice of Change letter your insurer sent in September to see what changes are in store for 2023.

For Medicare Advantage plans:

  • Make a list of the doctors you visit, the medical facilities you prefer and the medications you take.

  • Check that your doctors, hospitals, clinics, labs and prescription drugs are still available on your plan in 2023 at acceptable prices.

  • If you are happy with your existing plan, do nothing, and your plan will be renewed automatically.

  • But if you want to look for a better plan, visit the Medicare.gov website and follow the prompts to see if another plan offers the same (or better) options at lower premiums, deductibles and other shared costs.

  • Once you are shown the list of available Medicare Advantage plans available in your location, filter your options by:

  • Plan type (HMO, PPO or MSA)

  • Plan benefits (vision, dental, hearing, transportation, fitness)

  • Insurance carrier (all available insurers)

  • Drug coverage (include or not)

  • Star ratings (CMS ratings from 0 to 5)

  • Once you have your filtered list, choose how to sort plans:

  • Lowest yearly drug deductible

  • Lowest health plan deductible

  • Lowest drug + premium cost

  • Lowest monthly premium

  • The amount of information on each plan is extensive, so it makes sense to be clear on what is important to you as you go through the filters.

  • With your selected plan and your Medicare number in hand, follow the enrollment options available to you before the December 7 deadline:

  • Join online

  • Call the insurance company and enroll by phone

  • Fill out a paper enrollment form you download or obtain from the insurer

  • Call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

NOTE: If you need help paying for Medicare premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, copays and drug costs, call or visit your Medicaid Office (State Medical Assistance Office) about the Medicare Savings Programs.


For Medicare Part D prescription drug plans:

  • If you have added a Medicare Part D plan to your Original Medicare coverage, list the medications you take presently.

  • Check that your prescription drugs are still available at an acceptable cost in your Part D plan in 2023.

  • If you are happy with your existing plan, do nothing, and your plan will be renewed automatically.

  • But if you want to look for a better plan, visit the Medicare.gov website and follow the prompts to see if another plan offers your medications at lower premiums, deductibles or copays.

  • Consider changing pharmacies during your searches to see if drug prices are lower elsewhere.

  • Once you are shown the list of Part D plans available in your location, filter your options by:

  • Insurance carrier (all available insurers)

  • Star ratings (CMS ratings from 0 to 5)

  • With your filtered list, choose how to sort the available plans:

  • Lowest yearly drug deductible

  • Lowest drug + premium cost

  • Lowest monthly premium

  • With your selected Part D plan and your Medicare number handy, follow the enrollment options available to you before the December 7 deadline:

  • Join online

  • Call the insurance company and enroll by phone

  • Fill out a paper enrollment form you download or obtain from the insurer

  • Call Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

NOTE: Social Security and Medicare have a program called Extra Help to help people with limited income pay for Medicare prescription drugs. Contact your local Social Security office or call 1-800-772-1213.

 

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