Medicare Open Enrollment Begins Saturday

More than 540,000 Kansas residents receive health coverage through Medicare, and the time to review benefits is only days away.

According to the Kansas Governor’s Office, the program’s fall open enrollment period, when you can make changes that take effect January 1, starts October 15, 2002 and runs through December 7, 2022.

“It’s important that older adults make sure their current providers are still participating in their plan for 2023 and that the cost of any medications they need haven’t increased,” KDADS Medicare Program Manager Emily Blanch said. “Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to several aspects of their coverage and take the time to weigh all the coverage options available to them from various insurers. We encourage people to always take advantage of this time as all of us have health care needs that change over the course of a year and Medicare plans change as well.”

By shopping available plans and comparing costs, beneficiaries may be able to find a Medicare health or drug plan with better coverage or a lower premium in 2023. The Medicare Plan Finder allows users to compare pricing between Original Medicare, Medicare prescription drug plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policies.

During open enrollment, those currently enrolled may:

  • Switch from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another or from one Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another
  • If you didn’t enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when you were first eligible, you can do so during open enrollment, although a late enrollment penalty may apply

If you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must meet some basic criteria:

  • You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B
  • You must live in the plan’s service area

If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan and you don’t want to make changes to your coverage for 2023, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment, assuming your current plan will still be available in 2023. If your plan is being discontinued and isn’t eligible for renewal, you will receive a non-renewal notice from your carrier prior to open enrollment. If you don’t, it means you can keep your plan without doing anything during open enrollment.

Be aware that benefits and premiums could be changing for 2023. So even if you’re confident you want to keep your current coverage for the coming year, it’s important to understand any changes that may apply and check to make sure your current plan is still the best available option. The available plans and what they cover change from one year to the next, so even if the plan you have now was the best option when you shopped last year, it’s important to verify that again before you lock yourself in for another year.

Each year, there’s a Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 – March 31. During this time, if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan and want to change your health plan, you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan with or without drug coverage or go back to original Medicare and, if needed, also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

Changes to be aware of for 2023 include:

  • There are 90 Medicare Advantage plans available in 2023, compared to 88 plans in 2022.
  • 100 percent of people with Medicare have access to a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • The average monthly Medicare Advantage plan premium saw a -20.6 percent change, from $7.77 in 2022 to $6.17 in 2023.
  • 23 Medicare prescription drug plans are available with premiums varying from $2.80 to $112.60.
  • 100 percent of people with a stand-alone Medicare prescription drug plan have access to a plan with a lower premium than what they paid in 2022.
  • Through the CMS Innovation Center’s Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model, 20 plans will offer Medicare Advantage enrollees additional options, including reductions in cost sharing for certain covered benefits, such as eliminated Medicare Part D cost sharing; rewards and incentives programs related to healthy behaviors; and customized, innovative benefits that address social determinants of health, such as food insecurity and social isolation, for enrollees who receive low income subsidies and/or chronically ill enrollees.

State-by-State Fact Sheets are available at (Kansas’ Fact Sheet pgs. 49-51).

For more information on these changes and other Medicare-related issues, please contact KDADS’ Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas (SHICK), a free program that offers Kansans an opportunity to talk with trained community volunteers and get answers to questions about Medicare and other insurance issues. SHICK has counselors throughout the state that can assist people, so they stay informed on changing conditions in health care insurance. Call 800-860-5260 for this free counseling service.

SHICK counselors receive training on Medicare, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Long-Term Care and other health insurance subjects that concern older Kansans. The counselors do not work for any insurance company, their goal is to educate and assist the public to make informed decisions.

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