Five Common Medicare Open Enrollment Mistakes

More than a million seniors are enrolled in Medicare during the open enrollment period. Open enrollment started on October 15 and will end on December 7. According to a report released by the healthcare consulting firm Sage Growth Partners in July 2022, some individuals do not comprehend the distinction between Medicare Advantage and Original Medicare, many are overwhelmed by Medicare advertising, and only four out of ten people review their Medicare plan options annually.

As a result, Medicare open enrollment opportunities are missed, such as failing to ensure that your doctors are in-network for the upcoming plan year and not comparing coverage for your Medicare Part D prescription drugs.

Here are some frequent Medicare enrollment errors:

1. Verify That Your Doctor Is On The Plan

Generally, Medicare Advantage plan members must seek medical treatment from providers within the plan’s network, which may change at any time. Verify that your favorite medical providers will remain in the plan’s network in 2024 before deciding to stay with your current plan.

This may require labor, as websites and supplier directories are not always current.

According to Evan Tunis, president of Florida Healthcare Insurance, getting confirmation from the doctor’s office to verify that they are on the plan is the best course of action.

2. Not Comparing Prescription Drug Plans

Your prescription medication coverage is provided by a commercial insurance provider, regardless of whether you have Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. In 2024, your normal prescription drug may cost more, or your insurer may no longer cover it. (Another plan may cover it for less.)

It is beneficial to input your medications into to see the suggested options. If you log in to your account, your prescription history is already present.

It makes shopping for the next year much easier for them, according to Katy Votava, CEO of Goodcare, an organization focusing on Medicare economics. They are not required to tediously enter information line by line and milligram by the milligram.

3. Do You Believe All Doctors Will Accept Your PPO Plan?

A preferred provider organization, or PPO, plan permits members to see out-of-network physicians, typically at a greater cost. People occasionally believe that since they have a Medicare Advantage PPO, they may see any doctor they choose. However, not all providers accept out-of-network coverage.

According to Tunis, providers can simply deny a patient at the moment of treatment if they do not wish to bill the plan.

For example, the Mayo Clinic in Florida is not in-network with the majority of Medicare Advantage plans and will not arrange visits for members with out-of-network Medicare Advantage coverage.

To have complete provider choice, Tunis recommends choosing Original Medicare plus Medicare Supplement Insurance or Medigap.

4. Being Swayed By The Splashy Ads

Many Medicare advertisements accompany Medicare open enrollment season, and Medicare Advantage plans provide attractive benefits such as no premiums and coverage for hearing, dental, and vision care.

However, searching for health insurance involves more than just the extra perks. Generally speaking, they don’t cover that much dentistry, Votava explains. Hearing aid coverage is also quite restricted; nonetheless, this is not a cause to change your plan, so proceed with caution.

More crucial, according to Votava, is ensuring that the plan covers your physicians and medicines for the upcoming year.

5. Waiting Too Long To Ask For Assistance.

If you want to enroll in Medicare, you should not wait until December 7 or even the last week of the open enrollment period. SHIP, or the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, can help regarding health insurance issues. SHIP counselors may provide free advice with Medicare decisions, but they can become busy.

In several regions of the nation, SHIP programs are booked several weeks in advance. “If you require assistance, do not delay,” Votava advises.