It’s that time of year when Medicare subscribers should review their health plan. Every year, Medicare hosts an open enrollment period that allows you to make changes and update your current plan. This year, open enrollment will take place from October 15 to December 7. Medicare has made some important changes for its coverage next year that you’ll need to consider before revising your plan. Search online to learn more about what’s different for Medicare subscribers starting in 2021. Those currently under a Medicare Advantage plan will be facing the most changes in coverage. Subscribers can search online to find out how these changes will affect their health plan.
Here are three changes coming to Medicare for 2021.
1. You Can Receive Health Services Virtually
Medicare is making it easier for seniors to receive healthcare without leaving home. In 2021, there will be increased coverage for telehealth services and telemedicine. This means you can consult with doctors virtually to get the care you need. Some of these services include e-visits, check-ins, psychotherapy and others that can be done over video calls from home.
You won’t have to pay extra for virtual health services. Medicare will help cover the cost, so it’s possible for you to pay the same amount as you would in person. Whether it be with nurse practitioners, physical therapists, speech language pathologists, or another type of doctor, you can talk to them from home.
High-risk seniors can take advantage of this service and prevent developing health problems by going in public. But if you’re an Original Medicare subscriber, you may not be offered as many telehealth services than Medicare Advantage Plan members. Consider switching to another plan offering comprehensive telehealth coverage if this is something that’s important to you.
2. Additional Coverage for Seniors With End-Stage Renal Disease
People living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) will have new options for coverage starting in 2021. Prior to the changes, there was limited coverage and patients were only allowed to enroll into Medicare Advantage under strict circumstances. Now, you can sign up for Medicare Advantage and pick a new plan.
Joining a Medicare Advantage plan will help you spend less money on out-of-pocket costs. The plans cap individual spending at $6,700 per year rather than $15,000 per year under Original Medicare coverage. Switching your plan will also give ESRD patients better coverage for services like dialysis, case management, and ongoing healthcare support.
3. More Options for Long-Term Care
It’s expensive for seniors to receive long-term care, and Medicare hasn’t always had the best coverage to help with costs. Luckily, there are some changes happening in 2021 that can better meet your needs.
Under some Medicare Advantage plans, you could have five types of coverage added to your plan:
- Adult day care services
- In-home personal care services
- Benefits for over-the-counter services
- Home safety modifications
- Meal delivery and transportation
This coverage is something independent living seniors can look forward to since it doesn’t apply to seniors receiving care in long-term facilities. Coverage will vary depending on the plan you choose, so make sure to read up and choose one that includes coverage for your desired long-term care service.
Before these additions, those without supplemental coverage had to pay out-of-pocket for most services. For Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage subscribers, you may have only been able to get a maximum of 100 days covered for skilled services or rehabilitative care. These new changes could make things more affordable for seniors needing long-term care.
Make Changes to Your Health Plan During Open Enrollment
Now is the time to review your health plan and make the necessary changes. If you’re looking to take advantage of the changes being made for 2021, you can only do this from October 15 to December 7. Open enrollment is the only time you can reevaluate your plan and make your desired changes each year.
Anyone wanting to take advantage of telehealth services, receive added coverage for end-stage renal disease, or have more options for long-term care services should look into the available plans.
Some things you can do during open enrollment include:
- Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage
- Switch from Medicare Advantage to ORiginal MEdicare
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
- Switch from one Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another
- Enroll in a Medicare Part D plan if you didn’t enroll when you were first eligible
All Medicare plans are different. Make sure to carefully read about what each one offers to find one that meets your needs. You can make the necessary changes during open enrollment and start receiving that coverage in 2021.