Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is here again, and, once again, too many Medicare users will make a big mistake — failing to use this opportunity to shore up their healthcare coverage, save money and protect their wealth. Fortunately, you don’t have to make that mistake.
The Annual Open Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7) is the best time of year to review your Medicare coverage and make the changes you need. To take advantage of it, first, you need to understand all the changes you can make during this time. No other time of year offers so many possibilities.
Here’s what you can do during the Annual Enrollment Period:
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another.
- Enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan.
- Switch from one Part D prescription drug plan to another.
- Leave a Part D prescription drug plan.
If you don’t give your plan a check-up in January you may discover that your current plan raised costs more than you expected or stopped covering one of your prescriptions. That’s why it’s so important to give your plan a check-up and shop Medicare plans every year. (If you’re feeling left out because you don’t even have your first Medicare plan yet, read “New to Medicare? Here’s why everyone’s talking about the Annual Enrollment Period.”)
Here are 5 reasons why your Medicare plan needs a check-up every year:
- Medicare plans change every year.
Your Medicare plan can change a lot from year to year. Your premiums may increase. Your drug plan may introduce new medications and stop covering others. If you have Medicare Advantage, one of your doctors may move out-of-network. All sorts of changes are possible, so you need to be aware of them. Look for the Annual Notice of Change letter from your Medicare plan every year at the end of September. The letter will summarize all the changes to your coverage that will go into effect on January 1. Note: Medicare Supplement Insurance policies (Medigap) do not change from year to year. The coverage will remain the same as long as you hold the policy.
- Your healthcare needs change, too.
The coverage you had last year may not be the coverage you need this year. Have you developed any new medical conditions since you enrolled in your last Medicare plan? Are you seeing any new specialists? Or have you successfully treated a condition so that it is no longer an issue? If so, consider whether your Medicare plan has given you what you need during these changes. The Annual Enrollment Period is the time to find out if there is a better plan for your current needs; just waiting for you to find it.
- You could save a lot of money.
According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, about half of those who used Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period to explore their plan options cut their premiums by at least 5 percent. Don’t stand on the sidelines. You could be missing out on significant savings.
- If you miss the Annual Enrollment Period, you may have to wait to make changes.
If you discover you are not happy with your drug plan after December 7, you may have to wait until October to switch to another drug plan. You may also have to wait until October if you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan.
- There are lots of options out there now.
That’s a good thing. If your current plan doesn’t work for you anymore, you have plenty of alternatives to choose from. Here’s another good thing: you don’t have to sort through all those plans yourself. After all, we could be talking about dozens of Medicare plans, depending on where you live. Just go to Healthpilot and answer a few questions about how you use healthcare. Then we’ll search available plans and recommend a selection of plans that meet your specific healthcare needs.
Give your Medicare plan a check-up this AEP.
Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period is a great opportunity to make sure you still have the right Medicare plan. But too many people pass up this opportunity and end up stuck with plans that are too expensive or don’t provide enough coverage. Make sure you aren’t one of them.
You can take full advantage of this enrollment period every year to make sure you have the right coverage, and you can do it in a matter of minutes. Healthpilot is a free website that makes it easier to shop for Medicare plans without any obligation to enroll. Our technology predicts what coverage you would get from each available plan and what it could cost. We look beyond copays and premiums to factor in things like deductibles and coinsurance, too. You can then review your estimated out-of-pocket costs and savings for each plan compared to Original Medicare, also known as Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B.
Once you choose a plan, you can enroll without leaving Healthpilot.com. And if you do enroll in your Medicare plan through Healthpilot, we’ll alert you if a plan that may be better for you becomes available.
Healthpilot.com is free with no obligation to enroll. Healthpilot.com is owned and operated by Healthpilot Technologies LLC, a licensed health insurance agency, also doing business as Healthpilot Insurance Services in the state of California. Healthpilot is not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. government or the federal Medicare program. This article is a solicitation of insurance.