Now that the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is here, you have the option to change your Medicare plan.
Each year, 8 in 10 people choose to keep their current Medicare plan. But this may not always be the best idea. In fact, AEP is the perfect time to look into what other plans can offer you, even if you feel satisfied with your current coverage. So, why do we suggest working with an independent licensed agent to explore the available Medicare plans in your market?
Your Changing Medical Needs
Your health is rarely static from year to year. Any change to your health will also alter your medical needs. If you’re diagnosed with a health condition, you should investigate what treatments and necessary drugs are covered by your plan. What isn’t covered by your current plan may be covered by another.
If over the last year, you visited your doctor more than ever before, you may be more interested in a plan that has lower copays or deductibles. In contrast, if you’re in good health and haven’t needed to use your plan for some time, a plan with a lower monthly premium may be more appealing. It’s a good idea to discuss your personal health situation with a professional before making any changes in this regard.
Your Plan Changes Its Coverage
Much like how your health changes, your Medicare plan can change each year. Luckily, your plan will send you an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) each year in September. This document will note any changes to your coverage. If you do not receive one before October 15, you should contact your plan. There are a couple of changes worth keeping an eye out for in your ANOC.
If you’re on a fixed income and would struggle to pay more for your health coverage, it would be wise to consider more affordable plan options if you learn your premium will rise in January. You may even qualify for income-based assistance. A licensed sales agent can help you understand the costs of a plan.
When a plan’s contract with a local health care provider expires, it could leave a hospital system out-of-network for your plan. If you like your primary care physician, you may not be too happy if they won’t be within your plan’s network for the coming calendar year.
Prescription drug coverage formularies can change annually. If you need a certain medication and it’s no longer covered, finding a new health plan may be an important consideration.
You’re Looking to Save Money
One of the most persuasive reasons to examine your options this AEP is the money you can save by changing plans. One study found that seniors who switched their Part D plans often lowered their out-of-pocket costs as a direct result.
In fact, Kev Coleman of HealthPocket.com said in an interview with CNBC, “‘There’s a compelling financial reason’ for everyone on Medicare to shop around.” Another report by CNBC claims that you even cut your monthly expenses by hundreds of dollars. They’re certainly great reasons to keep your eyes and options open this AEP.
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So how can you search your options? One way to see what’s available around you is to use Medicareful’s Plan Finder. Not only can this show you plans in your area, it can connect you with an agent who can assist you further. You can also reach out directly to an agent, who can identify plans that fit your needs. Remember, you have from October 15 until December 7 to enroll in a new plan!