Although the annual Medicare open enrollment period ended Dec. 7, some Minnesotans have more time to make Medicare decisions.

Special enrollment periods remain for most beneficiaries who live in one of the 66 Minnesota counties that are losing their Cost Plans as of Dec. 31 due a change in federal law. As of Jan. 1 Medicare beneficiaries whose Cost Plan ended Dec. 31 and who did not enroll in a new plan will return to Original Medicare (Parts A and B only). Returning to Original Medicare could be costly so these beneficiaries should know that through Feb. 28 they can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan and a Part D prescription drug plan or through March 4 they can purchase a Medigap policy without a health screening.

Choices must be made by the end of the month to be in effect for the first day of the following month.

New in 2019 is the Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period from Jan. 1 to March 31. During this time any Medicare beneficiary who begins 2019 enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan that includes Part D, drop their Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare or enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan.

“It’s important for consumers to review their Medicare coverage and make sure the plan is both affordable and provides access to doctors, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies they want and need,” said Kari Benson, executive director of the Minnesota Board on Aging, which operates the Senior LinkAge Line. “Line specialists can help by providing comprehensive, unbiased Medicare counseling.”

More information about plans is available at www.Medicare.gov/find-a-plan. More information about Medicare open enrollment in Minnesota can be found at www.SeniorLinkAgeLine.com.

Senior LinkAge Line, at (800) 333-2433, is a free statewide service of the Minnesota Board on Aging in partnership with Minnesota’s Area Agencies on Aging. Senior LinkAge Line provides help to older Minnesotans, their families and friends, helping them connect to local services, find answers and get the help they need. The Senior LinkAge Line does not sell or market any Medicare or insurance product.

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