The Sunshine State is home to over 4 million Medicare beneficiaries, the second-largest Medicare population in the United States, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Florida also has the largest number of available Medicare Advantage plans at 254. Because there are so many competitive Medicare Advantage plans in Florida, about 43% of Medicare beneficiaries in the state choose the Part C route instead of traditional Medicare.
Florida has several stand-alone Part D plans, as well. With 27 Part D plans, above the national average, Medicare beneficiaries in Florida have multiple options. All these plan options make the Medicare Open Enrollment Period a very important time in Florida. Seniors should be aware of these details as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period begins.
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period ends on December 7th
The Open Enrollment Period is less than two months long. While that’s plenty of time to review and compare plans, many people think they can wait until December 7th to start the process. The problem is that many insurance carriers and brokers have a December 1st internal deadline for submitting paperwork, so it’s important to start the process early.
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period isn’t a guaranteed issue period for Medigap plans
Medicare beneficiaries tend to get this detail wrong. The Medicare Open Enrollment Period each fall is not a guaranteed issue period for Medigap plans.
Medicare beneficiaries can apply for a Medigap plan at any time throughout the year. However, if a beneficiary applies for a Medigap plan after his six-month Medigap open enrollment window is over, he will likely have to answer health questions. The purpose of the Fall Open Enrollment Period is to allow Medicare beneficiaries to enroll in, change, or disenroll from Medicare Advantage and Part D plans.
Medicare Advantage and Part D plans auto-renew
Some Florida beneficiaries review their Annual Notice of Change in September and decide to stick with the same plan. Since they are okay with the changes their plans are making, they don’t have to switch plans during the Open Enrollment Period. If beneficiaries want to stay with the same plan for the following year, they don’t have to do anything. Medicare Advantage and Part D plans auto-renew.
Florida beneficiaries should compare plans each year
Even if they are still happy with their plans, Florida beneficiaries should compare plans during the Open Enrollment Period every year. New Medicare Advantage plans are created every year. From 2018 to 2019, Florida had 75 new Medicare Advantage plans; you may find a new plan that better meets your needs.
Medicare Advantage plans are offering more telehealth benefits
Recently, Original Medicare started covering telehealth benefits. Telehealth is a way beneficiaries can discuss their health with their doctor via video chat. However, Original Medicare only covers telehealth under certain circumstances.
In 2020, Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional telehealth benefits. Beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan with these additional telehealth benefits will have easier access to telehealth coverage. Florida beneficiaries should compare Medicare Advantage plans during the Open Enrollment Period if they’re interested in these extra benefits.
The average Medicare Advantage plan premium is at a twelve-year low
Another reason Florida beneficiaries should shop plans this Fall is because the average Medicare Advantage plan premium is the lowest it’s been since 2007. In 2019, the national average premium for Medicare Advantage plans was $26.87. That average has decreased by 14% to $23.
Florida beneficiaries who have neglected enrolling in a Medicare plan in the past because they couldn’t afford it should think again. With these low premiums, there is bound to be a Medicare Advantage plan to fit any budget.
Florida Medicare beneficiaries have access to some of the most competitive Medicare Advantage and Part D plans in the country. They should never miss the chance to find the new, best plan of the year.
Author: Danielle is a Medicare expert who writes regularly for many online publications, including Forbes, where she is a member of the Finance Council. A TCU journalism graduate and former magazine editor, she enjoys sharing her knowledge online.