Medicare Updates!  Did you know…

Update No 1:

…….THAT if you are in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can change plans from January 1 to March 31 each year (and not just during fall Open Enrollment)?      

So…. if you didn’t recheck your Advantage Plan during last fall’s Open Enrollment, or if you have discovered your 2022 plan made changes for 2023 and your drugs cost more now, or your doctor is no longer in-network on your plan, there’s still a chance to see if you can find a better choice for 2023 if you act before March 31. This is especially important if you have a Regence Med Advantage Plan and use the Everett Clinic or Poly Clinic for care due to recent changes.

Update No 2:

…….THAT if your injectable insulin currently costs more than $35 for a one-month supply, there is a way to switch to a different Advantage or Part D Drug Plan for 2023? 

Starting in 2023, if your injectable insulin is on your drug plan’s formulary, the maximum allowed cost per month is $35. If the one you take is not on your drug plan’s formulary, you can get a chance to change to a plan that will cover it.

Update No 3:

…….THAT if you have a Medicare Supplement (also called Medigap), you can change to a different plan ‘letter’, or a different insurance company any time during the year? AND that there are some high-deductible plans that could possibly help you save on premiums?

So…..if your premium is hard to afford, it could be a good idea to get a copy from SHIBA of what each insurance company is currently charging for the same plan you have. That sheet will also give you info on the High Deductible plans.

Update No 4:

…….THAT as of January 2023, more vaccinations are now free on Medicare ?

Of special note: the Shingles Vaccine (that you may have skipped before due to cost) is now $0 on your drug plan. Some vaccines are billed to Medicare Part B (flu, pneumonia, Covid & Hepatitis B), and others are paid by Part D or Med Advantage Drug Plans. Check with your drug plan for details.

Update No 5:

…….THAT beginning in 2023 in Washington state more Medicare recipients will be able to qualify for help to pay their premiums and drug costs?

Until this year, to get a break on Medicare costs folks had to have both a low income and very low assets. But now only income is considered. If you, or someone you know, struggles to make ends meet and has previously tried to get help but didn’t qualify because of having a ‘rainy day’ fund, help might now be possible:  Assets (like bank accounts, extra cars, etc.) NO LONGER are taken into consideration….. Just your monthly income is considered.

Update No 6:

…….THAT January 1 to March 31 is the time of the year folks over 65 who missed getting Medicare during their Initial Enrollment Period have a chance to get signed up?

If you know someone over 65 who is not yet on Medicare A and/or B, but who has paid into Social Security and is not employed and covered by company insurance, let them know that this is the one time of year they have a chance to apply. With the 2023 Medicare improvements, coverage can start the very first month after they sign up: no more waiting periods like in the past. Deadline to apply: March 31!!

Update No 7:

…….THAT the totally free SHIBA Medicare Advisors program at Island Senior Resources is available all year long (not just during fall Open Enrollment) and that our volunteers can help with these questions? And other Medicare questions too!!

Our group of fully trained, unbiased volunteers, overseen by the Washington Insurance Commissioner’s Office, is happy to help with individual phone or in-person appointments to go over your situation, Medicare questions, and options. No sales. Just information about possible ways to save and choices to consider.

Questions????   Call SHIBA!!!

(Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors: A Free Service)

(360) 321-1600

Serving Whidbey and Camano islands