Kentucky News Connection

October 17, 2019Available files: mp3 wav jpg

Medicare, Employer-Sponsored Health Plan Open Enrollment Begins

Nadia Ramlagan

FRANKFORT, Ky. - More than 3 million Kentuckians have the opportunity to enroll in or make changes to their Medicare coverage or employer-sponsored health plan during the next couple of months.

Medicare open enrollment begins now and ends on Dec. 7.

Paul Brophy, chief operating officer for UnitedHealthcare Kentucky, says enrollment season can vary for employer-sponsored plans.

"So each and every year, employers evaluate their own plans and then, they set aside typically a two to three-week period for their employees to evaluate what kind of changes they want to make to the plan that they're going to be offering from the employer's side," he explains.

For most people, changes made during this time will take effect in January 2020.

Brophy says anticipating life changes can help ensure people have the coverage they need down the road.

"We want to be sure people are sitting down with their families to consider, are there pending surgeries?" he states. "Is there a pregnancy where there's going to be a delivery sometime mid-year? Is there other planned medical care?"

Even if you don't expect to change plans, Brophy adds it's important to make sure your prescription costs will still be covered next year.

He points out that Medicare beneficiaries may be surprised to know that original Medicare doesn't cover prescription drugs or most dental, vision and hearing services. But many Medicare Advantage plans do.

Some health insurance companies have developed resources to help people sort through their options.

Brophy says UnitedHealthcare has a program called Navigate4Me.

"This program pairs people facing complex health issues with a single point of contact to help coordinate care, address claims issues, provide that support necessary to be sure they are going to the right quality provider and asking all of the questions necessary," he explains.

Brophy notes that Navigate4Me is not available in all UnitedHealthcare plans.