For the hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans who qualify for Medicare, lower premiums and more plans in 2023 are good news.
Open enrollment for next year’s coverage began on October 15 and continues through December 7. People who want to keep their current Medicare coverage do not need to re-enroll. Eligible first-timers can enter at any time from three months before their 65th birthday to three months after their birth month. But for everyone else – those who want to review their coverage or make changes, now is the time.
said Janis Torres, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico.
People who qualify for Medicare—generally those age 65 or older or people with a disability that makes them eligible—can choose to use traditional Medicare, find a prescription drug plan, get a Medicare supplemental insurance policy, or enroll in a Medicare plan. Advantage at this time.
Nationally, average premiums for Medicare Advantage plans are expected to decline about 8% in 2023, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. But in New Mexico, that number is 18% — from an average of $14.62 in 2022 to $11.98 in 2023. Plus, the number of plans available in the state has increased from 69 this year to 72 next year, giving seniors more of a life. options.
Changes in local offerings
BCBSNM, which offered Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans in 12 counties last year, is expanding to 29 counties this year.
The Presbyterian Health Plan has launched a new Medicare benefit plan aimed at people who want predictability but also some flexibility. The Ultra Flex Plan, as it’s called, provides out-of-network service for those who travel, said Brandon Friar, president of Presbyterian Health. It also comes with $860 tied to a debit card that can be used to get benefits like eyeglasses, acupuncture, dental services, or chiropractic care.
When it comes to choosing a plan, Fryar recommends not getting information from targeted ads or call centers but from someone who really knows Medicare.
“A lot of times, it’s a trusted medium in the community that you can go and visit,” Friar said.
Presbyterian has licensed health plan advisors at 800-346-4766 (TTY 711) who can walk people through the process and help them identify their health care insurance needs. BCBSNM offers check-in hours at 5701 Balloon Fiesta Parkway, Monday through Friday 9am-5pm, until December 7th so people can meet with certified brokers for free and get guidance.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recommends contacting local government health insurance assistance programs for a free personal health insurance consultation. In this state, the New Mexico Aging and Disability Resource Center is located at 800-432-2080 or nmaging.state.nm.us.
The center also recommends using the Medicare Plan Finder, a tool available on Medicare.gov, for side-by-side comparisons of costs and coverage. The tool was streamlined this fall and updated with Health and Medicines Plans for 2023 on October 1. In addition, 1-800-MEDICARE is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide assistance in English and Spanish as well as language support in over 200 languages.