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With the end of Medicare open enrollment approaching, experts urge West Virginia residents to compare their current coverage to the next year’s plan to avoid unexpected costs. As Medicare ‘Part D’ and Medicare Advantage plan details may change annually, Kimberly Taylor-Newsome, state program director for the West Virginia Aging and Disability Resource Center, suggests contacting resource counselors for assistance in reviewing and comparing plans. Meanwhile, in Maine, healthcare premiums under the Affordable Care Act are increasing, though subsidies are expected to shield most Mainers from additional costs, prompting experts to advise residents to shop around for the best plan.

Maximizing Medicare Benefits and Navigating Rising Health Care Premiums

As the end of the Medicare open enrollment period approaches, West Virginians are advised to compare current coverage with next year’s plans. These changes could help avoid unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. Kimberly Taylor-Newsome, state program director for the West Virginia Aging and Disability Resource Center, warned that Medicare ‘Part D’ and Medicare Advantage plan details usually change annually.

“Yearly changes can affect drug formularies, premiums, deductible amounts, and even the pharmacies that the plan works with,” said Taylor-Newsome. Counselors are available through the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Center to assist in reviewing current coverage and comparing plans, reachable at 866-981-2372.

Financial difficulties due to inflation have left many of West Virginia’s older residents struggling. Taylor-Newsome emphasized the importance of selecting the right plan to avoid sacrificing necessary medications and care. A recent KFF survey found that people with Medicare are generally satisfied with their health coverage, but cost concerns remain high.

Continued Subsidies to Offset Rising Health Care Premiums

Despite the increasing health care premiums under the federal Affordable Care Act, experts have assured that continued subsidies will prevent additional costs for most Mainers. In fact, eight out of ten Mainers with a marketplace plan are expected to qualify for premium subsidies to lower monthly payments.

Kate Ende, policy director at Consumers for Affordable Healthcare, emphasized the importance of shopping around for the best health care plan. Open enrollment runs through Jan. 16, but enrollment by Dec. 15 ensures coverage beginning in the new year.

Ende cautioned against choosing a plan based solely on cheap premiums and urged careful attention to the details. “Ensure your plan covers your necessary doctors, providers, and medications,” she advised. If the process seems daunting, Mainers can seek help through the Consumers for Affordable Healthcare help hotline at 800-965-7476.

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