Medicare’s Open Enrollment period is from October 15 – December 7, 2017, with coverage effective January 1, 2018. Now is the time to evaluate and decide on which Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plan will be best for you in the coming year.

During this period you may change your Medicare Advantage Plan to another provider and also select different Medicare drug coverage. If you want to make a change from an Advantage Plan to Original Medicare this is allowed only during the Medicare Advantage disenrollment period or MADP.  The MADP occurs every year from January 1 to February 14 with new coverage on March 1.  If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan you will be able to switch to Original Medicare with or without a separate prescription drug plan. Part D information can be found on Medicare’s Plan Finder page and is helpful in making a decision.

Choose your Medicare options wiselyIt is important to note that if you do disenroll from an Advantage Plan to move to Original Medicare you may not have the right to buy a Medigap policy to cover deductibles or other unreimbursed expenses from Medicare. This could be significant for some and the laws may vary by State. Your State’s health insurance assistance program (SHIP) is the best resource for understanding your options and the service is free of charge. The Senior’s Resource Guide site has a list of State websites to learn more.  Additional help is available by calling 1-800-MEDICARE.

Low-income seniors that have difficulty paying their medication costs may qualify for a federal subsidy. For more information, contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 and/or visit the website

Whether you making an initial decision or a change to your Medicare plan, it can be stressful.  If you have a family member or friend that has experience, they may be a great resource.  Allsup Medicare Advisor is a fee-based service provider that may help you sort through the plan options based on your specific needs, doctors and prescriptions. Check with your local senior centers as they may be offering group discussions and informational presentations.

For answers to all your questions, click on the link to download the Medicare & You 2018 informational booklet.

Please note: The website links in this article do not represent advice. They are intended to help you locate information and resources to make this personal decision