For most of us, housing is our largest monthly expense. But once you enter retirement, your out-of-pocket spending on healthcare is likely to increase. For some retirees, this expense even overtakes their housing costs! The cost of premiums, deductibles, co-payments, and medications can really add up. But you do have some options to keep costs down, and one of them is quite simple.
Here’s one easy thing that everyone can do to manage their out-of-pocket spending on medicare bills: Each year, make sure you reevaluate your Medicare plan and consider making changes.
When you first turn age 65 and become eligible for Medicare, you will make a series of decisions regarding your policy or policies. But you’re not stuck with those choices! Because your medical needs and budget can change over time, it’s important to reevaluate your plan or plans every year.
During the Medicare Annual Election Period each year, from October 15 to December 7, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, go back to Original Medicare, or enroll in Advantage for the first time. Those without a prescription plan can enroll in Medicare Part D if they choose. And you might wish to add Medigap coverage. All changes will take effect on January 1 for the following coverage year.
During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, from January 1 to March 31, those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can reevaluate their plan’s network and out-of-pocket expenses. You can switch to a different Advantage plan or go back to Original Medicare.
And if your living situation or health changes at any point during the year, you might be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. During this time, you can make changes to your Medicare plan that benefit your new situation.
Talk to your health insurance broker during each of these times so that you can evaluate the options available to you. Managing your Medicare plan(s) is a simple way to stay in control of your medical spending, and to protect your budget as a whole. And for more information on budgeting during retirement, just give us a call.