Time is running out to lock in your Medicare coverage

Medicare recipients who haven’t yet re-evaluated their coverage have about two weeks left to make changes.

The program’s open enrollment period, which started Oct. 15, ends on Dec. 7. This seven-week window is generally the only time you can make changes to your Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C) or prescription drug coverage (Part D). And with premiums for Part B (outpatient care) jumping by 23 percent for many Medicare beneficiaries, trying to contain costs in other areas is crucial.

Although the 2018 standard monthly premium for Part B will remain unchanged at $134, about 70 percent of Medicare Part B enrollees currently pay a lower monthly premium due to a “hold harmless” legal provision. Their monthly cost will rise by as much as $25 to $134 from the 2017 average of $109, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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