Contributed by: Sandra Adams, CFP®, CeFT™
Here it is again…time for changing leaves, cooler weather, and Open Enrollment for Medicare. Open Enrollment is the period from October 15th to December 7th each year during which those currently enrolled in Medicare can change their health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year if a change would better meet their needs. The Center recently hosted a webinar presented by Nat Towle, an Independent Consultant from Freedom Consulting, LLC, that provided details on Medicare, open enrollment, and what is important for 2017 (see the link to the replay below).
Health care costs are going up, especially for seniors. In fact, a Healthview Services cost data report from 2015 showed that healthcare costs for a healthy couple turning 65 could be over $395,000 over their lifetimes. And healthcare inflation exceeds Social Security COLA on an annual basis; for instance, the Social Security increase for 2016 was 0% and the healthcare cost inflation rate (year-to-date) for 2016 has been 3.26%. The Social Security COLA increase for 2017 was just announced to be .3%, and we be sure that the healthcare cost of inflation will be .3%+ in 2017. Why is this important? When costs increase, this often means that plans will be competing for business, and it means that clients should be reviewing their plans EACH YEAR to make sure that they are in the right plans based on their current circumstances.
The other big news for 2017 is that the Blue Cross Medigap Legacy C Plan premiums that were frozen through 2016 are set to increase dramatically beginning in 1/1/2017. Those currently enrolled in the Legacy C Plan will be receiving letters and will have to make a choice about whether to stay in the plan and pay the higher premiums, move to another plan within Blue Cross, or move to another plan outside of Blue Cross. There are additional details to potential underwriting considerations, so it is important to do your research or consult with an advisor to assist you before making a change, as Nat suggests in the webinar.
Medicare coverage is an important decision, and we suggest reviewing your coverages on an annual basis. If you have additional questions after viewing the webinar, please contact your financial advisor or Nat Towle directly for assistance.
Raymond James is not affiliated with Nathaniel "Nat" Towle or Freedom Consulting. The information provided here and in the webinar replay has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. These materials are being provided for information purposes only and are not a complete descriptions, nor are they recommendations. Opinions expressed are those of the Sandra Adams and Nat Towle and are not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members.