Medicare open enrollment for 2019 ends Friday. What you need to know.

Every year from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, those who qualify for Medicare have a window of time to change their coverage. The deadline is near.
Medicare beneficiaries can find and compare coverage by consulting Medicare’s online Plan Finder, which estimates out-of-pocket costs, grades plans by performance and allows you to explore possible pharmacies in your neighborhood. The website is at medicare.gov/find-a-plan. [THOMAS C. TOBIN   |   Times]
Medicare beneficiaries can find and compare coverage by consulting Medicare’s online Plan Finder, which estimates out-of-pocket costs, grades plans by performance and allows you to explore possible pharmacies in your neighborhood. The website is at medicare.gov/find-a-plan. [THOMAS C. TOBIN | Times]
Published December 5

Here’s your reminder: Friday marks the end of the annual open enrollment period for Medicare, when people covered under the federal health insurance program get a chance to evaluate their options and decide whether to make a change.

The period began Oct. 15.

During this time, consumers can switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, which offers an alternative way to receive Medicare benefits through a private insurance company. Or they can do the reverse and return to Original Medicare.

They also can switch Medicare Advantage plans, or change prescription drug plans, known as Part D. In addition, those who did not enroll in Part D when they were first eligible can do so during this period.

The process and the programs, available to those 65 and over, can be complicated. But help is available. For comprehensive coverage of Medicare programs and the enrollment period, consult the Times 2019 Medicare Guide, which allows you to compare Medicare Advantage plans and drug plans available in the Tampa Bay area.

You can also find answers at Medicare.gov.

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