The Train Is Leaving The Station
Coverage to begin February 1. If you do not have a Life Qualifying Event, the deadline is in days. Note that dental and vision, if “off-marketplace,” does not have this calendar.
You can still adjust, perhaps.
January 1 – March 31: Enroll in Medicare if you have already passed your Initial Election Period, and did not apply for Part A or Part B, when you should have. We get asked “I am employed but will retire in July, I am 66.” Answer: If you are covered by health insurance, are a full-time employee, then the answer is no, you can wait, but it’s important to know the timeline. There is your HR department, there is the federal government, there are carriers, there are family considerations. This is a long list, and any one of them can affect the timing and selection of your health insurance configuration. In certain cases, this would also alter the timing of your intended retirement.
January 1 – March 31: Cancel your Medicare Advantage. You can change to Medigap, but be careful to first get accepted by Medigap, so that you do not lose health benefits that you receive (on top of Parts A & B).
January 1 – March 31: Switch from your existing Medicare Advantage to another. You have the one-time option. There can be very good reasons to do this.
Better benefits or extra services which are valuable to you (e.g. supplemental dental)
Prescription coverage inside Medicare Advantage can vary widely, especially if there is a high-cost prescription.
Important: financial representatives cannot private approach you to suggest changes. YOU must make the outgoing inquiry.
What you cannot do:
You cannot switch from one Part D plan to another; that period ended on December 7th, 2021. You would need a Special Enrollment Period (moving, etc), that would allow this.
You cannot newly enroll in Medicare Advantage, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (loss of coverage, etc).
You cannot switch from Medigap to Medicare Advantage, unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
This looks like a list of “can’t” but the reality is that the list of Special Enrollment Periods is very long, and if you do qualify for one, then there is flexibility to the “base case.
The Latest In The News
There are a dizzying number of headlines early this year.
Medicare Part B Premium Hike Could Be Reduced as Government Reassesses Alzheimer’s Drug (link)
No Surprises Act takes effect (link)
Example of network issues: Anthem v Northside Hospital (link)
Appearance Schedule (there are more)
Local, January 24
National, May 15 – 18
Secret: Paid subscribers to the Substack already have access to whatever I am going to say, to both everyday people, as well as the high-end professional crowd.