Most of us have already had our first frost warning. Autumn leaves are falling, it is time to start putting the garden to bed, fresh-pressed cider is available again, and it is Medicare enrollment time. These are all signs of the season. Most of us pay the least attention to the last one.
There are some differences this year. First of all, we have an extra month. Enrollment runs from October 15th through December 31st. This gives us more time to compare our plans. The best way to take advantage of that is to start right away.
Whether for ourselves or for those we assist, this opportunity is an important one because costs and coverage can vary from provider to provider. Especially with Part D, the prescription drug coverage, what is covered and what it costs needs to be checked annually. Last year’s coverage may still be the best, but without checking who can be sure?
We change, too. Perhaps changes in our health make it advantageous to switch from a traditional Medicare plan to a Medicare Advantage Plan. Or maybe it should be switched the other way around. Did the doctor prescribe new medication and does our old plan cover it? If the doctor cancelled a medication, is it still being shipped automatically?
Where do we go for help with this? There is Medicare’s website, medicare.gov, or their toll free number, 800-633-4227. For face-to-face assistance, call 2-1-1 or the Senior Help Line at 800-642-5119 to be connected with your local Agency on Aging.
This is also a great time to check the expiration dates on all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. Dispose of the old ones, but don’t just pour them down the sink or flush them down the toilet. Most pharmacies will accept old medications for disposal. Those that don’t should be able to offer advice on where to take them.
So, we need to compare our plans, check our drugs, and then treat ourselves to some nice fresh cider. Aging in Place, it doesn’t happen by accident.