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How to make the most of Medicare open enrollment this year

Medicare open enrollment runs until Dec. 7th. (FILE)

It’s Medicare open enrollment time, which means you can now make changes to your coverage for 2019.

Open enrollment runs through Dec. 7th.

“Every person’s situation is different and the benefits they want are different, so we really think it’s important to look at the benefits on each plan, and you look at the cost and compare those,” said Brad Bertrand, an investment advisor and retirement planner at Retirement Solutions.

Medicare Parts A and B cover hospitalizations and out-patient care respectively. That combination is often called basic, or original, Medicare. Part C, called Medicare Advantage, is another option.

“In general, because the Advantage plan may or may not not have your preferred provider in it, that tends to be less expensive and give you a little more benefit,” Bertrand said.

If you don’t go with Medicare Advantage, you’ll likely need to add Part D, which covers prescription drugs, to A and B.

Even if you’ve already chosen a plan or been on the same one for awhile, experts recommend reviewing your options every year.

“I know that doesn’t sound like an enjoyable process, but it can save you money and it can give you better benefits,” said Bertrand.

It’s especially important to reevaluate your existing coverage if your financial circumstances have changed, or if you’ve recently been prescribed new medications.

The best way to review your choices is to visit Medicare.gov or call Medicare directly at 800-MEDICARE. If you’re still unsure what the best plan is for you, you can work with a professional to help you enroll.

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