Medicare 2021: Here Are The Changes You Should Be Aware Of
If you’re a Medicare subscriber and want to make changes to your coverage, open enrollment will allow you to do so. From October 15 to December 7, Medicare allows subscribers to change plans and update their coverage for next year. But there are some major changes Medicare is making in 2021 that subscribers should know about. You can find out what’s different with an online search. While it’s important for every Medicare subscriber to review the changes, those who are under a Medicare Advantage plan will be facing some of the biggest ones. Search online to learn about how these changes can impact your plan.
Here are the changes Medicare subscribers should know for 2021.
Increased Virtual Health Services
This year has been especially risky for seniors to be visiting their doctor. Luckily, Medicare is making it easier for you to get the care you need without leaving home. Increased coverage will be provided for telehealth services and telemedicine. This allows patients to consult doctors over video calls with e-visits, virtual check-ins, psychotherapy, and other services that can be conducted from home.
Medicare can help cover the cost of telehealth services in 2021. Most virtual services will have patients paying the same amount you would by receiving the service in person. This is especially beneficial to people who require medical treatment, but are at higher risk of developing health issues by frequently going in public.
Some doctors that can be visited virtually include nurse practitioners, physical therapists, occupation therapists, speech language pathologists, and more. Those under a Medicare Advantage Plan may be offered more telehealth benefits than Original Medicare subscribers. If telehealth services is something you want, look into your coverage options during the open enrollment period.
Long-Term Care Coverage Options
Something that’s poorly covered with most health insurance policies is long-term care. Under Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans, you may have been able to get a maximum 100 days covered for skilled services or rehabilitative care. And unless you have supplemental coverage, most seniors needing non-medical support have to pay out-of-pocket.
The good news is Medicare Advantage plans will offer increased long-term care coverage in 2021. With additional supplemental coverage, you can find a plan that will better meet your needs.
Here are five coverage additions that can be added to some Medicare Advantage plans.
- Adult day care services
- In-home personal care services
- Benefits for over-the-counter products
- Home safety modifications
- Meal delivery and transportation
This coverage doesn’t apply to seniors receiving care in long-term facilities but is something independent living seniors can look forward to. It’s important to read up on the details of Medicare Advantage plans because coverage will vary.
More Choices and Coverage for Seniors With End-Stage Renal Disease
For seniors diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), there were limited coverage options under Medicare. They were only allowed to enroll in Medicare Advantage under certain circumstances. The good news for people living with ESRD is they can now sign up for Medicare Advantage and pick a new plan.
You can switch to a plan that offers critical services such as dialysis, case management, and ongoing healthcare support. These options will give ESRD patients more coverage and even pay less money out of pocket. Medicare Advantage plans cap individual spending at $6,700 per year, rather than Original Medicare’s cap of $15,000 per year.
The coverage for these new plans will begin in the New Year. If you have ESRD, the new changes will give you more coverage options and hopefully make living with the condition more affordable.
Adjust Your Medicare Plan During Open Enrollment
Open enrollment is from October 15 to December 7. If you want to make changes to your Medicare plan, this is the only time you will be able to. It gives you the opportunity to adjust your coverage or join a new plan altogether that best suits your needs. Make sure to review the changes Medicare has implemented for 2021.
Medicare can be a confusing program, even for those who are already subscribed. There are informative online resources you can read that will help you decide which plan is best for you. Search online to find breakdowns of costs, and look into the out-of-pocket costs you’ll be responsible for with each plan. Coverage and costs will vary depending on the plan, but you can find one that’s affordable by taking the time to research your options.