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3 Tips to Make The Most of Medicare Open Enrollment

Here's an opportunity to make changes to your Medicare Coverage.

Each year, Medicare enrollees have the opportunity to make changes to their existing coverage. It's known as the program's open enrollment period, and it kicks off on Oct. 15 and lasts all the way through Dec. 7. Here are a few ways you can make the most of this year's open enrollment period -- and secure the best coverage possible for yourself.

1. Review your drug plan options

Traditional Medicare is broken down into several distinct parts. Part A, which covers hospital visits, is free for most enrollees, while Part B and Part D, which cover diagnostics and prescriptions, respectively, charge participants a premium. But whereas Parts A and B don't give you a choice in the coverage you get and what you pay, there's a host of Part D plans you can choose from -- and open enrollment is the optimal time to pick the right one.

When evaluating your Part D plan options, you'll need to do a few things. First, take a look at your prescription needs and see if they've changed over the past year or if you expect them to change in the coming year. Next, take a look at the specific drug coverage each Part D plan offers, and weigh that against the premium it wants to charge you. Keep in mind that drug plan formularies can change from year to year, so the same medication that cost you little in 2018 could become far more expensive in 2019. That's why you'll need to look not just at premiums but at how your medications are treated under each plan.

2. Consider a Medicare Advantage plan​