Before you know it, it will be time for Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). AEP is your opportunity to enroll in or make adjustments to your Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription medication plan for the upcoming year, beginning on October 15 and extending until December 7. Therefore, it’s very important to prepare for this time by learning what you can and can’t do and what you should and shouldn’t do.
1. Check if you are eligible for savings.
To find out if you could be saving money, apply for the LIS (Extra Help) prescription drug savings program and other Medicare Savings Programs. You might even want to try applying for Medicaid depending on your income level. The outcomes might affect the type of coverage you qualify for this AEP.
2. Watch for upcoming changes to the plan.
Beneficiaries with Medicare Advantage or Part D coverage should read their mail carefully every September. This month, they will get a letter from the carrier informing them of their plan’s annual notice of change or ANOC.
This letter contains information on any changes to the plan for the upcoming year since any modifications will become effective on January 1. If changes are made to Advantage plans, your favorite doctors may no longer be part of the network. In the meantime, changes to Part D and Advantage plans may involve:
- Removing medications or dosages from the formulary.
- Raising premiums.
- Changing other out-of-pocket expenses.
You can use the ANOC to assess whether you want to adjust your plans for the coming year. The first step to a successful AEP is determining whether your coverage meets your wants and needs for 2023.
3. Note any changes in your life.
Do you have an issue with your present doctor, or did you start seeing a new one this year? Because not all plans accept the same doctors, keeping track of your current practitioners is essential. You can quickly verify if any potential plans you are considering cover your providers.
Did you get a job, lose a job, or start having financial problems? Medicare can be managed in several ways based on your budget, and a registered agent can help you understand the possibilities.
Have you been given a new medical diagnosis that calls for expensive treatments?
Consider the past year and what you anticipate will occur in the upcoming one. Think about what kind of protection you require to get through the challenges you may face.
4. Make a note of the prescription drugs you take and the dosages you are supposed to take.
Most Advantage plans include coverage for prescription medications. So, regardless of whether you have a Part D or Advantage plan, you should list all the prescription drugs you take and their precise amounts. Include whether you take brand-name or generic medications. Your plan probably won’t cover your prescription if a formulary does not include the prescribed drugs and dosages.
This list will assist you in determining whether your present drug coverage is adequate for the upcoming year. You should look for a new insurance provider if your Annual Notice of Change letter indicates that any medications you need won’t be available on the formulary.
5. Check out the Medicare Plans that are offered this year.
New Medicare plans might enter the market each year, and existing ones could modify their offerings. It’s critical to consider the new data rather than simply presuming that your current plan will remain unchanged. You will be informed if your plan changes and how it is changing. However, it’s also vital to keep an eye out for any changes in your service area..
Perhaps you were previously only able to access four-star plans, but now you have access to a five-star plan!
It’s important to remember that new benefits aren’t available for assessment and discussion until October 1 of each year. To be sure you’re analyzing the plans for the future benefit year and not inadvertently comparing plan benefits that may ultimately change, you might need to consult with a qualified agent.
6. Make time to meet with a licensed agent.
Thanks to the internet, we know it is comforting to believe you can handle everything independently and no longer require an insurance agent. But it isn’t always the case. Meeting with a certified insurance agent has three advantages: it’s free, quick, and can’t hurt.
Meeting an agent can only benefit you because it won’t increase the cost of your plan either way. A qualified representative can guide you through all the options in your service area and assist you in choosing the one that best suits your requirements. We’ll repeat it: the assistance is at no cost!
1. Do not misinterpret Medigap.
New beneficiaries often consider AEP the ideal opportunity to combine their initial Medicare coverage with a new Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan. This, however, isn’t always the case.
Only Part C (Advantage) and Part D of Medicare are covered by the Annual Enrollment Period (prescription drugs). These aspects of Medicare are not included in Medigap.
You can sign up for a Medigap plan whenever you have original Medicare. Applying outside of the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period, which starts at the same time your Part B goes into effect, could result in a denial from the carrier. The duration of this enrollment period is six months.
2. Avoid committing to a new Medicare plan too quickly.
It can be alluring to leap into a flashy new plan. Before you switch, think about everything because it could be challenging to switch back. Make sure that the new plan covers your prescriptions, has no hidden fees and is compatible with your doctors. Additionally, confirm that the new benefit would be beneficial to you personally!
3. Don’t wait until AEP next year.
The Annual Enrollment Period allows beneficiaries to organize their affairs before the start of the new plan year on January 1. Every year, there may be changes to many aspects of Advantage and Part D plans, but carriers are required to notify subscribers in advance.
Keep a watch out for the ANOC letter your plan sends; if you don’t get it, get in touch with your insurance provider. The moment has come to assess your insurance policy and make a decision.
To save a little time,, don’t take the chance of being upset with plan changes for the following year. Even if you no longer desire an Advantage or Part D plan, you can altogether discontinue coverage through AEP. Whatever decisions you make at AEP, the following October 15 to December 7 will be your next opportunity to make the same changes.
Ready for AEP?
Use a tool for comparing plans first, such as our free Medicare Plan Finder. After you’ve examined a few possibilities, you might think about showing your findings to a licensed agent so they can explain what you’re looking at and why the differences matter.
Call 503-928-6918 or click here to make an appointment with one of our qualified agents. We are eager to assist you in obtaining the coverage you deserve.