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How to Start Planning for Open Enrollment

Preparing for Open Enrollment

Navigating and enrolling for health care can feel overwhelming, but we’ve taken some of the hassle of figuring out all of that information for you! Read below for some ideas to think about before the open enrollment period for health insurance. 

Know your Enrollment Period

People either sign up too early or too late which can cause penalties to happen when signing up for your insurance plan. Avoid these penalties and save money by knowing the time period in which you can sign up!

  • Initial Enrollment is the time period when a person can first sign up for Medicare. It is a 7 month period that begins 3 months before you turn 65 and ends 3 months after you turn 65.
  • General Enrollment sign up starts October 15th and ends December 7th. General enrollment is for signing up for a new plan or dropping, changing or adding to plans. 

If you’re working during your initial enrollment and have a group insurance plan through your employer then you will be given a special enrollment time. 

Know the Plan You Want

There are different options for you when signing up for Medicare. Although combing through the options will be time consuming, it will benefit you in the long run. You will have a much smoother sign up process by knowing what you want and qualify for. Check through the different options on the Medicare website and learn the basics to be prepared when signing up. 

If you already have a plan, it is also important to check your plan and make sure it is still meeting your health care needs. 

Some ideas to consider when picking your plan include:

  • What prescriptions do you have? 
  • Do you have any medical conditions? Has your health changed at all?
  • What doctors do you use? 
  • Do you have a certain hospital that you like?
  • How much did you pay last year?

Check on Financial Assistance

Many older adults don’t realize that there is financial assistance available for them to pay for their insurance plans. You could have financial assistance provided for you that isn’t covered under medicaid. The assistance could cover:

  • Prescriptions
  • Health care premiums and deductibles
  • Medicare costs

If you’re unsure whether you might qualify for assistance then you can check the Medicare website or your state’s medical assistance office.

What about Medicaid?

Medicaid can have many benefits for the people that are enrolled. In fact, some people can be signed up for both medicare and medicaid and get the benefits of both plans. Medicaid varies by state so you’ll need to check your state for qualifications. Medicaid is usually determined by your income, household size, and whether or not you have a disability. 

If you have medicare and qualify for full medicaid coverage you could receive:

  • Payments for your monthly medicare premiums
  • Help with payment of drug costs
  • Services that medicare doesn’t cover, like nursing home care

Remember that if you don’t qualify one year that doesn’t mean that you can’t qualify the following year because qualifications may have changed. Continue to check each year. 

Have this Information on Hand

Having all your necessary information and documents ready will help make your sign up process quick and easy. 

Make sure to have these documents on hand:

  • Basic information: your name, address, and telephone number
  • Social Security Number 
  • Information that helps identify you such as your birth certificate, driver’s license, or proof of U.S. citizenship if you weren’t born in the U.S. 

Let’s Make Open Enrollment a Breeze!

With all of these steps completed before your open enrollment time, you can go into the process with a stress-free plan. Enrollment can happen over the phone, internet or in person. Figure out what the best option is for you and get the health insurance plan that will benefit you the most.

Healthy Hive

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