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Medicare Open Enrollment Is Ongoing: Are You Prepared?

November 05, 2021

With Medicare’s open enrollment period ongoing, are you prepared? Medicare is the public health insurance plan for those aged 65 and up or those with end-stage renal disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

You can join a Medicare plan as soon as you become eligible, but you are only able to add, change, or drop a Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part D plan during the open enrollment period, between October 15 and December 7. Medicare health and drug plans change every year, so it’s important to revisit information annually even if you’re already enrolled. New plans will go into effect starting January 1, 2022.

Before selecting a plan, take time to evaluate your health needs for the coming year and know your options.

Keep in mind that Medicare consists of four parts:

  • Part A: Part A helps cover inpatient care, skilled nursing facility care, hospice care, or some home health care.
  • Part B: Part B helps cover medical services from doctors and health providers, outpatient care, home health care, medical equipment, and preventative care like screenings, shots and vaccines, or wellness visits.
  • Part C: Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage (MA), is a plan approved by Medicare but sold by a private company that provides an alternative to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) for your medical and usually include drug coverage. MA plans that include Part D coverage are called Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plans.
  • Part D: Part D, also known as Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), is a health plan for Medicare beneficiaries offered by private companies to provide coverage to help subsidize the costs of prescription drugs. It is a separate plan and requires separate enrollment.

Costs, providers, and drug inclusions can vary from plan to plan, so it’s important to understand your options before selecting a plan. This is especially critical for patients with cancer or those facing serious illnesses who need consistency in their treatment journey. Patients will need to know if their healthcare provider, pharmacy, treatment options, and current prescriptions will be covered under their new or adjusted plan.

To find information about Medicare plans available for you, check your mail for notices from Medicare or Social Security, review the 2022 “Medicare and You” handbook, and review the costs and coverage options on Medicare.gov. If you have questions about Medicare and how to get started during open enrollment, the Texas Oncology pharmacy team is here to help walk you through the process, answer questions, and prepare you to make your decision. Visit Pharmacy Services to learn more.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.