The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which cut costs on some insulins and Part D vaccinations in 2023, continues to roll out more money-saving changes to prescription drugs in 2024. Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 to Dec.7) is the ideal time to consider how the following changes may affect your choice of healthcare insurance plan.
It’s official: You signed up for Original Medicare Parts A and B. Your enrollment isn’t quite finished yet though — at least, it shouldn’t be. Your next step is to enroll in a prescription drug plan. This is true even if you’re not presently taking any medications. It is important that you enroll in a timely fashion to avoid lifetime late enrollment penalties.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the number of Medicare beneficiaries in Hawai‘i has grown to 281,091. Seventy-two percent of beneficiaries have prescription drug coverage through Medicare Parts C and D. Even so, prescriptions can be expensive. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is intended to help lower copays for covered medications.
Having trouble paying for Medicare or other health costs? Medicare Savings Programs (MSP) are available to help older adults pay their monthly Part A/B premiums, annual deductibles, or copayments for visits and services. MSPs are administered by the Hawaii Med-Quest Division.
Turning 65? Congratulations! You are now eligible for Medicare! But what do you do next? Firstly, it’s important to know that your Initial Enrollment Period or IEP begins three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after your 65th birthday. Secondly, you aren’t required to sign up for Medicare.
Every year, Medicare provides two enrollment periods that run from Jan. 1 through March 31. During the General Enrollment Period, individuals can apply for Medicare if they missed their Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) or don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Coverage begins July 1 of that year. If you missed your IEP when you turned 65, you may incur late enrollment penalties that will increase your premiums.
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP) occurs every Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Beneficiaries may enroll in, switch to or disenroll from Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage (MA) or Part D prescription (PDP) drug coverage. Changes made during OEP take effect on Jan. 1 of the following year.