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Medicare Open Enrollment: A 5-point checklist

The annual window for making changes to Medicare's health coverage has now been opened. It's time to see if your…

The annual window for making changes to Medicare’s health coverage has now been opened. It’s time to see if your plan is still right for you.

Retirement pension management often includes handling healthcare costs. If you are at Medicare, we suggest that you take a look at these costs: from October 15 to December 7, you can report * or make changes to your plans.

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It’s important to be aware of the time limit so you do not miss your opportunity and have to wait for next year to make some changes. It is also important to carefully consider your plans. This Medicare Open Entry Checklist can help you do just that.

first Review your planmessages.

Read all announcements from your Medicare plan on changes for next year, especially the annual announcement of amendment. We suggest at least that you make sure your current or expected prescription drugs are covered, and your current or expected doctor is still in the network. Do not take for granted that they are. Otherwise you may be able to pay these bills from your pocket.

2nd Think about what’s most important to you right now.

Medicare’s health and drug plans change every year, and so your health may need. Do you need a primary care physician? Does your network have the specialist you want for an upcoming operation? Does your current plan have your medication? Does another plan give the same value at lower costs? We suggest that you consider these and similar needs in detail before making decisions.

3rd Find out if you qualify for help paying for Medicare.

Medicare Parts A and B have deductible, collateral, co-payments and Medicare prescription drug insurance costs. Fortunately, there are some government programs that can help with costs. You can go to medicare.gov to learn if you qualify for help with Medicare or to find information about your state health insurance assistance program.

4th Shop for plans that meet your needs and fit your budget.

Medicare.gov has a useful tool called Medicare Plan Finder that lists plans offered in your area. You can use it to help compare plans.

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5. Check your plan rating before signing up.

Medicare Plan Finder also lists star ratings for Medicare health and drug plans. You can use these ratings to help compare the quality of any drug plans you are considering.

Some more things to know: If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch back to original Medicare if it better suits your needs. You can also decide to do nothing if you think your current coverage is still the best choice, but remember to consider any changes to your plan. Most of all, be sure to review your plan to help you make the best choice for your health and your money.

* If you are not at Medicare yet and plan to sign up soon, there is a seven month introductory enrollment period beginning 3 months before the month you reach 65, includes the month of your 65th birthday and ending three months after the month you fill 65 years.

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Ken Moraif CFP is a senior adviser and certified financial professional at Money Matters, a Dallas-based wealth management and investment company with over $ 4.15 billion in AUM and serving over 8,100 households (as of 31st May 2018). He is also hosting the “Money Matters with Ken Moraif” radio program, which has offered the listener’s pension, investment and personnel cost council since 1996.

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This article was written by and presents comments from our contributing advisor, not Kiplinger editors. You can check advisory records with the SEC or with FINRA.

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