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Medicare Open Enrollment FAQs

This list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Medicare Open Enrollment covers a range of topics related to Medicare enrollment, Medicare Advantage, Part D, Medigap, employer/retiree coverage, Medicaid and other low-income assistance, Medicare and the Marketplaces, and more.

Lower Flu Vaccination Rates Among Black, Hispanic, and Low-Income Seniors Suggest Challenges for COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

People 65 and older, who have been hardest hit by COVID-19 in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, are also at high risk of severe flu illness and are more likely to die of the flu than younger people. This analysis explores variation in the rate of flu vaccination among adults ages 65 and older covered by Medicare, and reasons cited for not getting vaccinated, based on data from the 2018 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey.

Medicare Beneficiaries Without Supplemental Coverage Are at Risk for Out-of-Pocket Costs Relating to COVID-19 Treatment

Most Medicare Advantage enrollees are in plans that have waived cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment, and many other beneficiaries in traditional Medicare have their cost sharing covered by supplemental insurance. This blog post discusses the 6 million Medicare beneficiaries without supplemental coverage who would face out-of-pocket costs if they require treatment for COVID-19.

Problems Getting Care Due to Cost or Paying Medical Bills Among Medicare Beneficiaries

There is ongoing discussion as to whether Congress should waive COVID-19 treatment costs. To inform these discussions, this analysis examines the extent of health care cost-related problems among Medicare beneficiaries. The analysis is based on a composite measure of cost-related burdens that includes problems getting care due to cost, delays seeking care due to cost, and problems paying medical bills among people with Medicare.

Examining Medicare Part D Policies for Extended Supplies of Medication

Medicare Part D plan sponsors, which provide drug coverage to 45 million older adults and people with disabilities, have the option to relax their ‘refill too soon’ restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of efforts to ensure adequate access to medications in disasters or emergencies. This analysis examines the share of Part D enrollees who currently have access to extended supplies of generic, brand-name, and specialty-tier drugs covered by their plan in 2020, prior to relaxation of any early-fill restrictions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

How Much Could Medicare Beneficiaries Pay For a Hospital Stay Related to COVID-19?

As the coronavirus continues to spread, the number of people on Medicare admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 related illness is expected to rise. We analyze how much Medicare beneficiaries could pay out-of-pocket for an inpatient hospital admission under traditional Medicare (assuming no supplemental coverage) or Medicare Advantage plans.

No Itch to Switch: Few Medicare Beneficiaries Switch Plans During the Open Enrollment Period

This analysis finds that a relatively small share of people with Medicare Advantage or stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage voluntarily switch plans during Medicare’s open enrollment period, which runs annually from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Shopping around among plans is important, since plans can vary significantly and change from year to year, which can have a large impact on enrollees’ coverage and costs.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.