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Need Help With Your GroceriesIt is only Spring, but insurers are already making big changes to their Medicare plans for next year.

Medicare has allowed insurers to offer new benefits in 2019 that are health-related. Some of these benefits will likely be, grocery shopping, home delivery of groceries and medications, transportation such as Uber, and some “unskilled” home health care. Insurers are scrambling to partner with home health care agencies to provide these services at low cost to their members.

According to Medicare, “Non-skilled home care services, also referred to as personal care, custodial care, and homemaker services which provide in-home care, are services that are supportive, or custodial in nature and are supplied by certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and home health aides (HHAs).” For many families already paying for these services out of pocket, this can be a very welcome change.

Another change will allow your insurer to send more “informational” material to you without it being screened by Medicare first. Which means, even more junk mail coming your way!

But the biggest change adds an opportunity for you to change your Medicare Advantage plan in the first 3 months of 2019. This is known as an Open Enrollment Period, or OEP, which follows the Annual Enrollment Period, or AEP, October 15 – December 7. During the AEP, you can change your plan as many times as you like, the final change before the AEP ends on December 7 is the one they enroll you in. If you feel you still need to make a change, or you missed the deadline, you can make one change during the OEP. Yes, its unnecessarily confusing.

More changes are coming in the years ahead with the closing of all F plan Medicare Supplements, the reduction of the donut hole or coverage gap in Part D plans, and new duplicate plans soon being allowed.