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CAREGIVING CHRONICLES

Information and resources that support your role in caring for a loved one.

Thanksgiving leftovers are still in the fridge. Gifts, decorations and a million other things are piling up on the to-do list for the holidays still to come in the next month. And the long-dreaded cold snap is just beginning.

This can be a hectic time of the year, especially if your helping to care for a loved one. But don’t let the holidays distract you from one important deadline coming up that you can’t afford to miss.

Next Monday, December 7, is the final day of Medicare open enrollment, which began on Oct. 15. This is the only time current Medicare enrollees can change their plans for traditional (Part B) coverage, Medicare Advantage plans or prescription  (Part D) plans.

If you are happy with your coverage, simply stay with your plan(s). But even if you have been satisfied, it’s still wise to shop around while you can and compare other options. It is also crucial that you review any changes to your plans. The coverage you like now may not be as satisfying in the new year if premiums or deductibles are scheduled to increase more than you expected or if there are any major changes in your network of providers.

Make sure that your doctor(s) are still going to be in your network and that any drugs you take are covered. While cost is the biggest factor most people consider, access to the providers you want can be extremely important as well.

Any changes made by the Dec. 7 deadline will be effective on Jan. 1.

Those on MassHealth or getting coverage on the individual market through the Affordable Care Act have a little more time. Open enrollment for those programs began on Nov. 1 and goes through Jan. 31.

For more information, check out our Medicare page, or go directly to Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE. That site includes a rundown of Medicare costs and a plan finder.

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