3 Tips to Help Caregivers Better Understand Medicare Open Enrollment

3 Tips to Help Caregivers Better Understand Medicare Open Enrollment

  • October 09, 2018

Medicare Open Enrollment is here again!

Between now and December 7, Medicare recipients can make changes to existing coverage. If an older adult in your life receives Medicare, they’ve no doubt been inundated with information from different plans touting long lists of benefits and cost savings. It can be overwhelming, especially for adult children who haven’t been through this process before.

Here are a few quick tips to help adult children and family caregivers learn more about Medicare Open Enrollment.

3 Tips for Helping a Senior with Medicare Open Enrollment

1. Review the senior’s current plan and coverage

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) suggests older adults use the “four C’s” when reviewing their current plan’s effectiveness: cost, coverage, convenience, and customer service. How satisfied is the senior with each of these? Their answers can help you decide if the plan is worth sticking with or if it’s time for a change.

It’s also important to review the older adult’s current health plan for any changes that will be coming in the new year. Confirm that preferred physicians, hospitals, and pharmacies will continue to participate in the plan.

Also, don’t assume that because the senior has traditional Medicare, any provider will accept it. Some health care providers are opting out of Medicare in favor of private pay patients and/or limited insurance contracts.

2. Research other plans

A senior might be reluctant to move away from traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan they’ve had for a while for fear of the unknown. This reluctance may be costing them money. One resource for exploring other options is Medicare’s Plan Finder tool. You can use it to compare plans and costs.

If you aren’t comfortable using an online tool, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to learn what Medicare Advantage plans are available near your senior loved one’s home.

3. Enroll in a new health plan or keep the same one

Regardless of whether you want to enroll in a new plan or keep the same one, it’s important to know the fall enrollment period is usually the only time of year you can make changes. Take time each week to explore and evaluate options. That way you won’t find yourself struggling with questions on December 7, the day the window for making changes closes.

Five Star’s Family Resource Library is Online

If you are a caregiver for a senior loved one, you likely have many questions. From Medicare to nutrition, we help provide you with answers. We encourage you to bookmark our online library, “Resources for Families”, and stop back often!

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