Medicare Annual Enrollment
Medicare Annual Enrollment
The Medicare Annual Enrollment occurs annually between October 15th and December 7th annually, for a January 1st effective date. During this period, you can select a new Medicare Advantage Plan or change from a plan you selected in a prior year. Now, why would you do that? Each year plans and benefits can change and as you age your needs also change. There is no cost to you to have an agent help to evaluate your needs to help match you with a plan that best meets your needs and budget. Additionally, this is the ONLY time of year that you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Supplemental Plan.
If you are just turning 65 during or confused as to what Medicare is, checkout our free online Medicare 101 class.
What Changes Can I Make During Medicare Annual Enrollment?
During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage Plan and Prescription Drug Plan. While these changes are not required — they can save you money. Both, with the upfront out-of-pocket for the plan as well as the out-of-pocket expenses throughout the year.
Medicare Advantage & Supplemental Plans
During AEP you can:
- Switch from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare
- Disenroll from Original Medicare and enroll in Medicare Advantage
- Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
Not sure what you need to do? This is what our agents are here for. You can request an in person, virtual or phone appointment on a day or time that works for you to discuss your needs.
Any changes you make during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period will take effect on January 1st.
Why Should You Consider a Change During Medicare Annual Enrollment?
Medicare Advantage and Part D benefits change each year. This means your premiums can increase and your benefits may change. Some common reasons you may want to change your coverage is due to your premiums increasing, the Advantage plan no longer has your doctor in the network of your plan, or the drug formulary drops your medication off the list of covered drugs.
You will receive an Annual Notice of Change in September from your carrier. The notice will explain any changes happening to your current policy that will take effect the following year. If you are unhappy with these changes, you can change your coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period to a plan that better suits your budget and needs.
Potential Reasons to Consider Changing Your Medicare Coverage Annually?
- My monthly premiums increased?
- Are my medications still listed on my drug formulary?
- What are my predicted annual medical costs?
- Is my doctor still in my plans network of providers?
- Do I plan on traveling this year?
- Does my plan include dental, vision, or hearing?
- What are the ratings of my plan?
My monthly premiums increased?
Your Annual Notice of Change from your current carrier will explain in detail the changes that will affect your plan in the next calendar year should you choose to keep it. Significant increases are a sure sign that you should consider changing plans. Consider your anticipated needs over the next year so you can understand the potential out-of-pocket costs if you stay or change plans. An agent can assist you in evaluating plans.
Are my medications still on my drug formulary?
A drug formulary is the pricing tier that each medication is placed in, or the copays required for various types of prescriptions. Each year the drug formulary changes. Making and keeping an up-to-date list of your prescriptions will make it easier for you to evaluate the various plans. An agent can assist you in evaluating plans.
What are my predicted annual medical costs?
Make a list of doctor visits, planned procedures, prescriptions you currently take or might start taking in the next year. Then estimate the total out-of-pocket expense based on your current plans benefits and annual premiums. This evaluation will help you budget for the upcoming year as well as determine if the costs are looking to high and be an indication that you should speak to an agent to help evaluate other plans available.
Is my doctor still in my plans network of providers?
Doctor are credentialed with various networks per their group or individual preferences. Typically most doctors are credentialed with a particular network for 2-3 years. After that time, the doctor and/or the network can decide if they want to continue being credentialed. This means your preferred doctor can essentially move out of your plans preferred provider list over time. Seeing a doctor outside of your plans preferred network will result in larger out-of-pocket expenses for you. Remember, once you are in a plan you cannot change until the next years annual enrollment period. This could cost you thousands if not checked.
Do I plan on traveling this year?
If you travel out of state or even the country, you may not be able to see your preferred physician in the event of an illness or emergency. Make a list of where you plan to travel or if you move between two or more homes throughout the year. Then, verify that your plan has providers in network within these areas where you can establish care.
Does my plan include dental, vision or hearing benefits?
Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental, vision or hearing services, but some Medicare Advantage plans do. Consider your current and projected needs to decide if additional coverage is needed.
What are my plans ratings?
Just like purchasing a new appliance or staying a hotel, ratings based on prior experience are critical to your ultimate decision making. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a star rating system to help consumers compare Medicare plans. Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans receive an overall star rating of one to five stars on factors such as customer service, member experience, and member complaints. Medicare Advantage plans are also rated on preventative care to help people stay healthy and manage chronic conditions. If your plan has a low review, you should consider another option.
Your Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Checklist
Let’s review the checklist of items you need to prepare for Medicare Annual Enrollment.
- Make sure you are eligible to make coverage changes
- Visit Medicare.gov to:
- Review your current plan
- Make prescription drug lists
- Find providers in your area
- Compare procedure costs
- …and even evaluate plans on your own if you feel comfortable
- Make an appointment with a licensed agent to enroll before December 7th
Why do I need an agent for Medicare Annual Enrollment?
The agents at Bancorp insurance are here to help you navigate through the vast amount of information available during this annual enrollment period. Coverages and evaluating your needs can be overwhelming. Our services are 100% free to you. Don’t end up enrolling in a plan that you didn’t want, because you were frustrated or didn’t understand what you needed. Remember, you would be stuck with that choice for the next year.
Appointments are available at no charge or obligation to enroll, click the link below to request a virtual, in-person or telephone appointment or give us a call at (800) 452-6826.