IN Phoenixville Area Fall 2017 - Page 48

What’s the Latest on Medicare for 2018? I’ve heard Medicare talked about a lot on the TV news—What’s really going on? There’s a lot of talk about Medicare. Some big changes we’ve heard about haven’t been approved yet. Some other changes we haven’t heard so much about are happening because we’re coming to the time when we make our Medicare choices for next year. We are approaching the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which goes from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2017. The Annual Enrollment period is the time when Medicare beneficiaries have the widest range of options to improve their Medicare plans for the coming year. Open Enrollment is the time to make changes and choices among Medicare Advantage plans, Part D prescription drug plans and even Original Medicare / Medigap Supplemental Insurance (aka Medigap) choices. It is time for decisions in which there may be a lot at stake. What you should be looking for? Start with evaluating your present Medicare choices. By October 1 your current insurer will have notified you of any changes in cost and coverage for your current plan next year. You will likely also be deluged by offers from other plans. For most of us, the tendency is to react to this onslaught of information by maintaining the status quo—to assume that if my current plan was good enough last year, it should be good enough for next year. But don’t make this mistake—do the analysis. As you begin you may feel that you are wasting your time. At a high level, most things have remained fairly constant from last year to this. Premiums for parts A and B are not going to change more than Social Security does. According to Medicare, the average premium increase for Medicare Advantage policies is still relatively low. Drug plans on average are going down! In general, co-pays and deductibles are fairly similar to last year’s offerings. But carry your analysis deeper and you may spot some bargains. We recommend developing a picture that reflects your likely health demands over the upcoming year (outpatient procedures, specialist visits, etc.) and calculating what the out-of-pocket cost estimates would be for that scenario under at least a few health plan alternatives. Although this involves some amount of effort, the payback may be substantial. For instance, working with an APPRISE counselor and a tool called the Medicare 46 Phoenix [H\XB[[\ H[YXX\H\˜[XYH[Y[HX\ۘXHXY[\XH]H[Y][ۘ[  \YX\H[[HY\[[YYX\HX\[H]\HYX\ [\HH[H[[[[XJKYZ\[\\۝[YY [YXX\Y\[YYHKY][X][ۈوX[\B\܈[K[\TTH[[܈[[]] [[Y[X\H]H™[[X[[\\[HXH[HXZHBH\H[[]YH[\Y\˜\H^ܚ[]^\ٙ\X[[\[HZ\]\Y\ˈ\H\XBو]\YHX[[[Hۙ\[]H[X[[YXX\Y\œX[X[HYHܛۙXH\XYK[YXX\Y\]HX\Z]\YYX\H܈[\Y\ۜܙY[›X^H[YZYXHHZ\\\Y[[TTK][H\H\Xؙ\ MO\ XYH[Z[X\]Hݙ\Y[8&\X]H˓YYX\K݈[H]Z[XH\H\ܝ[\\\ۜˈ[H[[[܂^YX\&\YYX\Hݙ\YH[HۈB]KTTH[ܚ][H[\\ۂ܈ݙ\HۙKY[\]X][ۈ\˜\X]Y܈ۙK\\ܝ ܈[H›Y[YܝXHܚ[ۛ[H[][[Z[X\ٝ\KH]K]Z[YTTH[[܈[H]Z[XHܚۙK[ۋ[ۙH][K\[B[Y[\[ TTH[[ܜ[Hܚ[]و[[܈[\X\Y\[\][ۜY]H[KXZH[\[Y[ X]HHY\YH] L L ML ܂KN NKLL H^ L [TTB\\[]]H[[[H[]\[\\[Y[]H۝[Y[][ۂX\[KTTH[[ܜTTH\HYK[X\Y [ۙY[X[[[[\XHق[[[Xx&\]HX[[\[B\\[Hܘ[H T KB[[[XH\\Y[وY[ܙX]YTTH[[YYX\H[YXX\Y\[\[Z\YYX\H[ۜˈ\[X\Y ]]YH]ܚوZ[Y[Y\[[H[\]Y\[ۜ][X]H[[][[[[›ۛ[K0$H[ TTH[[܈[^[[ۜ\\Y[