Roll up your sleeves, another significant day in the history of your Medicare journey is just around the corner.
What makes October 15 special to us? For one, the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP), commonly referred to as open enrolment, commences then and runs full course till December 7.
But that’s not the catch; the open enrollment period is your opportunity to make new choices regarding your plans, health care needs, and coverage.
Suppose you’ve been evaluating costs or thinking of switching your Medicare prescription drug plan (Stand-alone Part D prescription drug plans) and Medicare Advantage plan to suit your present health needs. In that case, the Medicare Annual Election Period is the best time to do so. Now that you know this let’s get you prepped for it!
What Can You Do During The Medicare Annual Election Period?
If you’ve wanted to make changes to your Medicare coverage, there’s no better time to do so than during the Medicare Annual Election Period. The changes you take during this period takes effect from first January the next year.
Usually, except if you qualify for a Special Election Period (SEP), the open enrollment period is generally your only chance to make the adjustments you desire.
If you’re enrolled in Medicare Supplement or Original Medicare, i.e., Medicare Parts A and B, you might not have to bother with the Medicare Annual Election Period. This is because the enrollment periods are different.
Beginning from October 1, interested persons can access the marketing materials for 2021 plans. This should give you ample time to go through it before making any decision. Any changes you make during the AEP period will take effect from January 1st, 2021.
With Covid-19 still around the corner, the potential costs associated with medical treatments could be very high. More reason to review your plans rightly.
Still, wondering why you should take this period seriously? Here’s a list of things you can do then:
- You can switch from Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) to a Medicare Advantage plan.
- You can switch from your current Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B.)
- You can enroll in Medicare Part D (i.e., prescription drug plan)
- You can change your Part D plan to another Part D plan.
- You can disenroll from your Part D coverage if you care.
- You can change to a Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription drug coverage.
- You can switch to a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn’t provide for prescription drug coverage.
- You can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
So How Do You Get Ready For Open Enrollment/AEP?
You only get this opportunity once a year. You don’t want to spend the next year dissatisfied with your Medicare plan. Here is a list of things you can do to prepare for the upcoming Medicare Annual election period:
#1. Review Your Present Coverage:
This seems very obvious, but many people forget to do so beforehand. It’s necessary to go over your medical bills for the year. Run through everything, from coinsurance charges to your deductibles, your premiums, and copayments.
Once you have successfully tracked your costs, you assess changes that might have occurred in your health and check if your current coverage is still serving you. You should also review your plan’s Annual Notice of Change. Doing these will help you know the next step to take.
#2. Assess Changes In Your Medicare Policy:
You will want to meet with your Medicare agent to discuss things like premium, copays, coinsurance, and deductibles.
Copays, coinsurance, and deductibles are constantly changing in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D. This makes it more necessary to review upcoming payment policies before going ahead to resubscribe.
If you purchased Original Medicare or Medicare Supplement, you might not have to bother so much as the changes are usually less frequent. All the same, it’s always worth evaluating.
You should also speak with your agent about your Medicare premiums. The different Medicare parts vary in the amount on premium. Check to see if there have been changes in the amount you’ll be required to pay. It also pays to assess your budget and disposable income.
Going through this info will help you prepare financially for the upcoming year and help you decide whether to retain a particular Medicare policy.
One last thing you might need to review is your physician network. Every year, doctors are replaced and added to the Medicare plans physician network. We’ll advise that you go through your network to confirm that the doctors you’ll want to see are available to you.
Truly, there are numerous variables to consider when it comes to assessing and choosing a Medicare plan. The easy way to sort things out by contacting an agent to help you with the process.
If you’re about turning 65 or you’re finding it hard reviewing your plan yourself, we’re here to help. Give Healthcare Search a call today.
#2. Compare Plans:
After you have gone through your current plan, you should do well to compare it with other plans and evaluate which suits you best. Don’t forget to carefully go through your plans Annual Notice of Change (ANOC).
Doing so will help you know if changes have occurred in your current plan (benefits and cost-wise), if your plan is still available in the area you reside, and if your current plan still fits your current circumstances.
Doing your homework will enable you to know the next Medicare Coverage to choose. Remember, you don’t need to be hasty to avoid making the wrong decision; else you’ll have one year to deal with it.
If you’re not sure what Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare prescription drug plan is best for you, or if you need help comparing costs and benefits, you can contact a licensed agent with Healthcare Search to help you out.
#3. Ask Your Questions:
A lot has changed in Medicare policies since 2020 began. For example, Medigap Plan C and Medigap Plan F have been made unavailable for new enrollees.
Also, beginning in 2020, Medicare Advantage plans started offering unique services. Some of the benefits include home safety improvements, transportation to a doctor’s office, nutritionist services, etc.
All of these improvements begs that you ask questions before making a decision. You can speak to a licensed agent at Healthcare Search to learn more about Medicare policies and plans and how it relates to you.
It’s very easy to get carried away with oscillating back and forth that you forget to make a decision. Don’t wait till it’s December 7. Contact Healthcare Search to guide you through what you need to do during the enrollment process.
The next Medicare’s Open Enrollment period comes up in less than a month. You want to do what you have to do fast. If you want to compare plans, switch plans, disenroll from a plan, or just basically get your questions answered, we’ll love to help.
Give Healthcare Search a call today at (985) 273-5822. We’ll be sure to fix you up with an agent that will guide you through the process.