Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is here. Now is a great time to compare plans to determine your potential medical expenses for the coming year. Below are some tips and suggestions when looking at the new plans for 2021.

By: Patricia Callahan, LMSW, Cancer Resource Specialist at Cancer Support Community North Texas


1. How to understand the basics of an insurance plan.
  1. Insurance can be very complex. Understanding how your insurance plan works is incredibly important. Triage Cancer is a great site to view animated short videos on how insurance works.
  2. Triage Cancer-Animated Videos


2. Will you still be in treatment for cancer in 2021?

Look at the out of pocket expenses of all plans to see what your potential expenses might be. The longer you are in treatment the more likely you will reach your out of pocket max.


3. HSA/FSA Accounts?

Yes, this money does come out of your check but it can be a great way to access money pretax to pay your medical bills.


4. Affordable Health Care Plans
  1. Open Enrollment dates November 1, 2020 to December 15, 2020.
  2. Make sure that once you have selected your plan you call the clinics to ensure that the plan is IN NETWORK for ALL of the doctors you want to maintain.


5. Medicare
  1. Open Enrollment: October 15- December 7.
  2. Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare or vice versa.
  3. Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
  4. Switch from one Part D prescription plan to another. It is highly recommended that all beneficiaries use Medicare’s plan finder tool each year to compare the available Part D plans, as opposed to simply letting an existing drug plan auto-renew.
  5. Join a Medicare Part D plan (late-enrollment penalty might apply).
  6. Drop your Part D coverage altogether (re-enrolling in a later year will include a late-enrollment penalty if you’re not maintaining other creditable drug coverage).
  7. If you want to shop around with plans or have questions a good place to start is with your local Area Agency on Aging. They have certified navigators that can help you understand the health insurance plans. They can also help you determine if you qualify for any extra help programs.


– Tarrant County Area Agency on Aging: 817-258-8125
– Dallas County Area Agency on Aging: 214-871-5065
– North Central Texas Area Agency on Aging: 800-272-3921


6. For more information on Open Enrollment, please see:
  1. Tips about the Health Insurance Marketplace
  2. The Medicare Open Enrollment 2021 Guide


To set up an appointment with our Cancer Resource Specialist, email pcallahan@cancersupporttexas.org or call 214-345-8428. Find more resources here.