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Medicare 2020: Here are the basics about open enrollment Oct. 15-Dec. 7, 2019

By Brent Hunsberger | Special to The Oregonian/OregonLive

Open-enrollment season for Medicare health and drug plans runs between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7. It’s when seniors 65 and older can switch providers of their comprehensive health and drug plans. Other Medicare enrollees can also make changes. Here’s a guide to some of the basic choices enrollees face.

Basic Medicare

About 61.2 million Americans are enrolled in basic Medicare insurance, known as Parts A and B, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services data. About 38.2 million stick with this basic level of coverage. In Oregon, nearly 860,000 are enrolled, up 2% from 2019. About 466,000 stick with this basic level of coverage.

Premium: Not yet announced. This year, most enrollees are paying around $135 a month, but the government has warned it could jump to $144. Higher income taxpayers (singles making more than $85,000 or couples earning more than $170,000) pay surcharges that likely will range between $202 and $490.50 per month in 2020, depending on income, according to the Medicare Trustees estimates.

Enrollment periods: There’s a seven-month enrollment window starting three months before the month you turn 65. Those who miss this initial enrollment period can sign up between Jan. 1 and March 31 each year. Tho