4 things to keep in mind for final week of Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

Reminder: Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) ends Saturday

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SAN ANTONIO – Seniors, if you haven’t already looked over your Medicare benefits and coverage for 2020, you have a few more days.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period ends Saturday, Dec. 7.

Dr. Rowland Reyna, founder of HealthTexas Medical Group, and Glenda Pope, sales director from UnitedHealthcare answered some common last-minute questions over the Medicare open enrollment period.

1) What happens if I don’t choose a Medicare plan?

“Choosing a Medicare plan is one of the most important decisions you can make, not only for their well-being but also for your wallet,” said Pope.

You may be locked into your current plan for next year if you don’t make an enrollment decision.

“In some cases, this might be the right choice, but in many cases, if anything has changed this year, either within your current plan, your health status or budget, that decision to do nothing could lead to unpleasant surprises or missed cost-savings in 2020,” Pope said. "There is no one-size-fits-all approach when shopping for coverage, so people should know about the options and what different Medicare plans can offer.”

Takeaway: Take advantage of this opportunity to do some research and ensure you’re enrolled in a Medicare plan that will meet your health and budget needs for the year ahead.

2) Can I make plan changes after Dec. 7?

“For most people, this window we’re in right now is the only chance to make changes to their Medicare coverage for next year,” said Pope.

The Medicare advantage open enrollment period is Jan. 1 to March 31.

“The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period offers a chance for people to switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or go back to Original Medicare," Pope said. "If you have a Medicare Advantage plan. You cannot change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan at this time.”

Takeaway: You can only make changes if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan.

3) Why should I have a Medicare Advantage Plan and choose a primary care physician?

A patient’s overall care is coordinated and overseen by a primary care doctor (PCP.

With a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can have preventative healthcare benefits like vision, hearing and dental. There is added value in Medicare Advantage Plans that can include gym membership and transportation.

Takeaway: It is important to have a primary care doctor since your PCP works with you to manage your healthcare.

4) What should viewers be aware of when taking care of our seniors this season?

“This time of year we tend to see an increase in seasonal depression and loneliness,” said Reyna. “Like anyone, the elderly also have a need for social interaction. So reach out to the elderly this time of year, they could be your parents, grandparents, neighbors, church friends, or even a former doctor.”

Takeaway: A simple conversation about how they are feeling along with a “Happy Holidays and Happy New Year” goes a long way.

For more information, visit healthtexas.org or call 210-731-4864.

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