Every year, October 15 through December 7 marks the Medicare annual election period, which is the time Connecticut’s Medicare-eligible individuals can enroll in a Medicare plan for the coming year.

Michael Jefferson MD

With many plans to choose from, the process of evaluating Medicare plans can be confusing even during a regular year. Many residents in Connecticut have changed how they access and use healthcare. These shifts should rightly impact how you choose your 2021 Medicare health plan.

Here are several considerations to take into account. Look for a plan that…

Offers telehealth 

Over the past several months, telehealth has helped individuals to safely access healthcare. It’s clear that telehealth will have a role to play in the way residents of Connecticut continue to access care. It’s important that your plan accounts for this shift from in-person to virtual care and provides coverage for telehealth visits as part of its commitment to helping you improve your health and wellbeing. Telehealth can be a lifeline for older adults, giving them safe access to care from their homes.

 Values mental health

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in April and May of 2020, U.S. adults were more than three times as likely to screen positive for depression and/or anxiety disorders as in 2019. Even if you aren’t dealing with mental health challenges today, these feelings of stress or sadness could rear their head at any time. You want to be ready with a plan that offers good mental health coverage.

Supports overall health and wellness – whole-person health

Many people are not participating in their regular wellness routine, like going to the gym. Day-to-day activities like going to the store to pick up groceries are different than they looked a year ago. These challenges make it important to focus on improving overall health. Many plans offer access to virtual wellness programs, fitness devices, nutrition-related services, and other preventative care options to help people stay on top of their whole health. Make sure your Medicare plan offers these type of benefits.

Healthcare discussions often feel overwhelming and complicated, but ultimately annual enrollment should be seen as an opportunity. This is your time to reassess your needs and figure out what will fit your life. Think of it as a time to interview health plans available in Connecticut to find the best one for you in 2021. Even if you’re satisfied with your current plan, it may make sense to evaluate other options, considering the current healthcare environment.

Michael Jefferson, MD, is the Managing Medical Director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut. He lives in Branford. 

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