The list of decisions confronting us as the calendar winds down seems longer every year. And I’m not just talking about making holiday plans. Many of us are at the state in life when we need to make decisions on retirement account funding and tax planning that are tied to a December deadline. One very important decision for older Americans at this time of year is whether changes in their healthcare needs or costs require a review of their Medicare coverage.
For those enrolled in Medicare, the annual Open Enrollment period began on October 15 and continues through December 7. During Open Enrollment, a Medicare enrollee can switch from Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan (or vice versa), add or drop Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, or switch to a private insurer.
Beyond changes that may have occurred in your health needs during the year, another reason to review healthcare choices at year-end is to take advantage of an increasing selection of coverage opportunities to meet your specific needs. There are currently over 43 Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurers. More than 50% of the 65 million Americans enrolled in Medicare are now covered by Medicare Advantage plans rather than traditional Medicare. Despite the popularity of these plans, it is critical to understand the differences in coverages and costs before making any decision to change your Medicare coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
If you are already enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, keep in mind that the availability and cost of medications among these plans change constantly. It may be worth taking the time to see if your current prescription plan is the best available for you. Depending on the state in which you live, there may be up to 24 different prescription drug plans to choose from, each with varying premium costs, cost sharing, and covered medications.
The increased choices available to Americans eligible for Medicare coverage is dizzying. To make sure that appropriate and cost-effective healthcare is available to you next year, it makes good sense to review your coverage during Open Enrollment to see if a change in coverage is your best option going forward.
Stephen V. Kenney, CFA®, CFP® is Chief Compliance Officer & Director of Client Development at Gray Private Wealth, LLC, a wealth management advisory firm located in Canton, MA. He can be reached at (781) 232-2020 or email@example.com.
Gray Private Wealth, LLC (“GPW”) is an SEC-registered investment adviser. This material is for informational purposes only, as of the date indicated, is not complete, and is subject to change. Additional information is available upon request. Any opinions expressed herein represent current opinions as of the date of publication only and may change based on market or other conditions.
This material may contain assumptions that are “forward-looking statements,” which are based on certain assumptions of future events. Actual events are difficult to predict and may differ from those assumed. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will materialize or that actual results will not be materially different from those described here. Certain information herein has been provided by and/or is based on third-party sources and, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified, and GPW is not responsible for third-party errors. No representation is made with respect to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of information or opinions herein and GPW assumes no obligation to update or revise such information or opinions.
Information presented is for educational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice or an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. All investments involve risk, including risk of loss and are not guaranteed. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. There can be no guarantee that GPW will achieve any specific investment objective or level of performance. GPW does not offer legal or tax advice. Please consult your investment or tax professional for additional information concerning your specific situation. Specific companies, industries or securities described are meant to be illustrative of investment style only. Additional information regarding GPW including fees, expenses, and risks of investment, is contained in GPW’s investment advisory agreement, its Form ADV, Form CRS and related disclosure documents and should be reviewed carefully. GPW’s ADV 2A and Form CRS can be accessed via https://adviserinfo.sec.gov/ .