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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Tuesday May 21st 2024

Review Your Medicare Plan Every Year

By JETTA WIEDEMEIER BOWER, for the Senior LinkAge Line and Trellis

It’s important to select a Medicare plan that meets your needs and fits your budget. It’s also important to review that plan every year to see if the benefits within it have changed or if your current situation requires a different plan. You may discover the doctor you like is no longer in your network, or that a medication you take is no longer covered. You can choose a different plan, but only at certain times of the year with certain types of plans.


You can change your Medicare Advantage, Cost or Part D plan once a year during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, from October 15 to December 7. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you have a second opportunity to choose a different Medicare plan. That period is January 1 to March 31. Medicare beneficiaries can also change plans at other times under certain circumstances using a Special Enrollment Period.

Don’t Believe Everything You See on Television
Some companies that offer Medicare plans run television commercials and mail a lot of information to people enrolled in Medicare. The reality is, Medicare plans are designated by state, county and zip code, so when you see someone on TV making promises, some of what they’re talking about may not apply to you.


In Minnesota, you have access to free, unbiased assistance from Medicare counselors from the Senior LinkAge Line® and Trellis. The Senior LinkAge Line is a service of the Minnesota Board on Aging delivered by Trellis in the seven-county metro area.


Senior LinkAge Line Medicare counselors are different from insurance brokers because they are not affiliated with any insurance company. Our trained counselors can help you review your current plan and look at available plans in your area.


The only thing you have control over with Medicare is selecting a Medicare plan, so we encourage you to utilize this free, unbiased service. Depending upon what you need, you may find a plan that provides some dental coverage or a more cost-effective Medicare Part D drug plan that covers your prescriptions.
After you meet with one of our counselors, you may decide to keep the plan you have, but you will have done your homework to make sure it still works for you. And if you’re a person who likes to do your own research, a counselor can tell you what questions to ask to get the answers you need.


Review your Medicare plan and prepare for the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Schedule an in-person or phone counseling appointment at trellisconnects.org/get-help/medicare. Or call the Senior Linkage Line® at 800-333-2433 and a specialist will assist you.

Jetta Wiedemeier Bower has a master’s degree in public policy. She is the volunteer and outreach manager for the Senior Linkage Line, a free service of the Minnesota Board on Aging, delivered by Trellis and other Minnesota Area Agencies on Aging.

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