Medicare’s annual enrollment period runs from now until Dec. 7.  During this time, Medicare recipients can evaluate their current plans and shop around for other options.

Doing a little homework now can save you a lot of time and hassle down the road — and it might save you some money.

The first step is understanding your current coverage and determining the impact any health or lifestyle changes may have on that coverage. 

Questions to ask yourself:

What are my coverage options?

>> If you are covered under a plan through your former employer, reach out to them; they can give you information about any available options.

>> If you have purchased coverage on your own, give your insurance company a call. They can talk with you about your other coverage options.

Do I need to be healthy to make plan changes?

>> Some Medicare supplement plans may require you to answer health questions to change to a different plan. Medicare plans like Medicare Advantage and Part D must take all applicants (with a few exceptions) regardless of their health.

Have my coverage needs changed?  Changes to any of the following may impact your coverage decisions:

>> Health

>> Financial situation

>> Prescriptions

>> Travel plans

>> Your doctor

Once you have answered these questions, you can start to determine if you need to change your current coverage.

There are great, free resources that can help you along the way.  You can download Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska’s Medicare Coverage Guide for an overview of your options. Medicare’s website, and Nebraska’s Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIP) have good information to offer.  You can reach SHIP at 1-800-234-7119.  Another group called Volunteers Assisting Seniors (VAS) provides similar services at 402-444-6617 .