AARP encourages everyone with Medicare to take advantage of this year's Medicare Open Enrollment period October 15th–December 7th to review their health and prescription drug plans for 2015. AARP wants people to know the Medicare plan changes that can be made, the four things to consider, and how to make changes.

"Whether you have original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan, don't miss this seven-week window to make changes to your insurance coverage," said Nicole Duritz, AARP Vice President, Health Education and Outreach. "If your health and prescription drug needs have changed, or your current plan has made changes, now is the time to make adjustments."  

During Medicare Open Enrollment, AARP recommends that people evaluate their current health and prescription drug coverage. This is the time to make adjustments based on changes in health status, income, lifestyle, or personal preference. For instance, people can add or switch their Medicare prescription drug coverage based on the specific medications they need. Others may want to change plans so that they can continue seeing their doctor or continue going to the same health care center.

Three Things to Know About Medicare Open Enrollment

1.      Main Changes You Can Make

Here are three changes you can make during open enrollment:

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Prescription Drug Plan
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan

2.      Consider the "Four C's"

AARP recommends that people consider the "Four C's" when reviewing Medicare plan options:

Cost – Compare monthly premiums, annual deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance.

Coverage – Review the doctors and pharmacies included in the plan, as well as prescription drugs and other services you need.

Convenience – Look at the accessibility of doctors, pharmacies, and services in the plans.

Customer Service – Assess the quality of service a plan provides. Quality ratings are available for most Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan.

3.      How to Make Medicare Plan Changes

People can make changes to their Medicare insurance plans during open enrollment by visiting the Medicare Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan or by calling Medicare at 1-800- 633-4227.  Medicare enrollees who want help understanding their options can contact The State Health Insurance Assistance Program for no-cost personalized health insurance counseling.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.