The Medicare Question: Switch It or Stick With It?

Monday, October 19, 2015

By Catherine Field
Vice President and Intermountain Region Market Leader

Fall is in the air and it’s time for the annual Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan open enrollment, which runs Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. It’s one of the biggest choices people with Medicare will make each year. Take some time, do your research, and you could save thousands and improve your health. Here’s how:

1)      Start by understanding the main components: Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B), Medicare Advantage Plans (Medicare Part C), Medicare Supplement plans and Prescription Drug Plans (Medicare Part D). Go to to learn the differences.

2)      Talk with your doctor about health needs for the coming year, such as surgeries, medications and wellness goals. Then, make a list of what you want in your plan.

3)      Visit to learn about the plans available to you. Learn the costs to buy and use the plan and the most you’d have to pay even if a serious health event happens. Learn about the doctor and hospital networks included in each plan. Check Star Ratings, a five-star quality rating system.

4)      Visit the Medicare Advantage plan websites to get details about plans you may be interested in.

Your plan choice this fall is guaranteed and will be yours for all of 2016, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) and choose to make a change. With news of possible health plan mergers among Medicare Advantage plans, it’s important to understand that this does not affect your 2016 plan choice.

Get into the habit of considering Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 your health prep season, just like March and April is tax prep season. A little time now will help you make the right decision for your financial, emotional and physical health. So, while the question may be switch it or stick with it, the key to Medicare success is research it.


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