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Medicare Open Enrollment Starting October 15, 2016

Open Enrollment for Medicare begins October 15, 2016. During this time participants are able to make new choices and consider different plans that might better fit their needs. Medicare plans tend to change from year to year and now is the time to take advantage of a plan that will better suit your healthcare needs.

The enrollment period lasts from October 15 until December 7, with changes taking effect January 1, 2017. To prepare for this change, review your existing Medicare plan. Analyze the coverage you’re receiving, the out-of-pocket expenses and whether your health has changed or you are anticipating different medical care.

The major changes in 2017 include mostly cost-coverage for prescription drugs in Part D. In 2017 the initial deductible for Part D prescription drug plans will move from $40 to $400. The temporary limit for what plans will cover for prescription drugs will begin after you’ve spent $3,700 on covered drugs in 2017. This is a $390 increase from 2016 and ends after you have spent $4,950 out-of-pocket, when your catastrophic coverage will begin.

The Affordable Care Act slowly closes this gap by reducing your out-of-pocket for prescriptions purchased in the coverage gap. You will pay 40% of the cost for brand name drugs in the coverage gap and 51% for the generic drugs within the gap. These costs will continue to decrease until 2020 when the percentage you pay for a brand name drug in the gap will be 25%.