COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohioans ages 65-plus have about seven weeks to select a Medicare health insurance plan. Open enrollment for the federal health insurance program started Monday and runs through Dec. 7.
Chris Reeg, program director for the Ohio Senior Insurance Information Program, said premiums and plan coverage can change from year to year, so she recommended that even those who were happy with their 2018 Medicare coverage should review their choices.
"For 2019, the biggest change we saw is just more plans," she said. "Really, every county in Ohio has more Medicare Advantage Plan options and a few different Medicare prescription-drug plan options. So, it's a great time to review."
Other things to consider when choosing a plan are whether it includes your current doctor or medical provider, if you need vision or hearing services, or if you want such additional perks as fitness memberships or discounts on hearing aids.
Ohio is the sixth-largest state in terms of Medicare population, with about 2.3 million people enrolled.
When selecting a Medicare plan, Reeg said, consider factors that are unique to your situation, such as a change in income. She also recommended reviewing prescription drug coverage options.
"Knowing that their medications that they're currently taking are on the Formulary is very important," she said. "It's also very important to know all of the out-of-pocket costs; know if there is an annual deductible that must be met; know what the co-pays or co-insurance amounts are for their specific medication."
Reeg said those who need help with the cost of medication should select either a Part D plan or a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription coverage, since original Medicare doesn't cover those costs.
More information on plans is online at medicare.gov. Help is available through the Ohio Senior Insurance Information Program at 800-686-1578.