Phillips: Prepare now for Medicare changes in January

In this Oct. 6, 2015, file photo, the HealthCare.gov website, where people can buy health insurance, is displayed on a laptop screen. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
photo Ellen Phillips

As bad as I hate to break the news, insurance premiums will rise severely in 2017 so check your health insurance coverage now. Your favorite doctor may no longer be available. To add insult to injury, drug insurance plans' monthly premiums are expected to increase and/or cut some of their covered drugs, and (gasp! to my age group and above) many Medicare Advantage plans intend to shut down.

To avoid unpleasant surprises at the beginning of 2017, take advantage of this year's "open enrollment" now. Medicare, insurance under the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare), and many private employee insurance plans allow subscribers to switch policies or even insurance companies during this season.