Enrolling in Medicare requires a lot of decisions in a relatively short period, especially if the health insurance you’ve had from your employer ends when you retire. You’ll be glad to know that, in most cases, you can change your mind about the decisions you’ve made.
You can switch between Original Medicare and a Medicare Advantage Plan, or the reverse, change your drug plan during the annual enrollment period that runs from October 15 to December 7, and change Medigap plans or providers. But rules apply, and it’s possible to get things wrong. The best source of information and help is Medicare itself.
Because Original Medicare Parts A and B don’t pay for all your healthcare costs, you may want to buy a Medigap policy to supplement your coverage and help pay the uncovered expenses, including your deductibles, copayments, and co- insurance. Some plan also covers services that Medicare doesn’t, including medical care outside the United States.
You can choose among a number of plans, identified by letters of the alphabet, from a range of providers. Each plan offers a slightly different combination of benefits, but all plans identified by the same letter offer identical coverage—except in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The premiums, however, vary based on the insurer, and some costs are never covered.
You can find more information on the various plans in “Choosing a Medigap Policy: A Guide to Health Insurance for People with Medicare,” a booklet you can download from the Medicare website or in “Medicare & You,” which you should receive in the mail each year.
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