This article was originally published September 26, 2023, in Issue 4 of the Retiree Guardian. Newsletter of the CenturyLink Retirees.
We hope you find it of value and invite you to join us at the CenturyLink Retirees.
By Barbara Wilcox, SHIP Counselor
If you don’t want to make any changes to your Company or Medicare health care coverage for 2024, you do not need to do anything. * Medicare Open Enrollment: October 15 – December 7
Medicare Open Enrollment is for making changes in Medicare Advantage Plans or Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans for the coming year. I highly recommend that you review your coverage, any changes being made in your plan and any changes in your health or prescription drug needs. If you need assistance, you can contact your local SHIP program (877-839-2675 / https://www.shiphelp.org/) or you can use the tools on https://www.medicare.gov/ to find the plan that best fits your needs. Fall Open Enrollment allows you to change plans as often as once a year. The plan you choose has to accept you, regardless of your health status or preexisting conditions.
Medicare Open Enrollment is NOT for making changes in Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans. You can apply for a Medigap plan at any time of year, but the insurance company may not be required to accept you. There are special Guaranteed Issue rules that govern when you can sign up for one of these plans without being penalized for your health status or pre-existing conditions.
Generally, you have Guaranteed Issue during the first six months after you first enroll in Medicare Part B. But if you wait until after this Initial Enrolment Period, you may not be able to sign up for a Medigap plan or change Medigap plans. If your health is not good, you might be charged a higher premium, or you might have to wait six months for coverage of a pre-existing condition, or you might be denied coverage entirely.
If you did sign up for a Medigap plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, there are some special rules that allow you to “test drive” a Medicare Advantage plan and then return to your Medicare Supplement plan without any health questions being asked. In addition, some states have specific rules governing enrollment in Medigap plans with Guaranteed Issue. These rules can be complicated, so be sure you understand them before making changes. Keep in mind that Medicare rules do not allow you to be enrolled in both a Medicare Advantage plan and a Medigap plan at the same time. You have to drop one plan in order to enroll in the other.
Before you think about making a change from Medigap to Medicare Advantage, be sure you understand the rules and be sure you understand what your insurance company will or won’t allow if you decide you want to go back to Medigap. – I recommend that you call your local SHIP program (877-839-2675) for assistance.
Lumen Annual Enrollment: November 8 – November 22, 2023
See article on page 12 for more information about Lumen Annual Enrollment. This is for making changes in any Lumen benefits for you or your dependents, such as health insurance or dental insurance. Watch your email or U.S. mail for your Lumen Annual Enrollment information.
Notice of 2024 Medicare Part B Premium and Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA)
This annual notice from Social Security should arrive in your mailbox by early December. It tells you how much you’ll be paying for your Medicare Part B monthly premium and for any IRMAA you may owe in 2024.
If you receive reimbursement from Lumen or your HRA for these items, read the Annual Enrollment Instructions from Lumen carefully to find out exactly what you need to do, what documentation you need to submit, the address you need to send it to, etc. in order to get the correct reimbursement in 2024.
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