When it makes sense to change your coverage.
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is October 15 - December 7.
This is the time to add, drop, or switch certain coverage types.
Medicare's private plans can change every year so you should review coverage options every year.
It’s that time of year – Medicare enrollment time. Between friends, family, TV ads, and robocalls, there’s no shortage of sources giving you information. Some of it is credible; most, not so much.
The most important piece is making sure that your Medicare insurance covers your doctors, facilities, and prescriptions. If you’re not satisfied with your coverage or if your health/financial situation has changed, it might be time to take another look.
5 reasons to review your options
Generally speaking, there are 5 reasons you might consider making a change:
1. You want a less expensive plan. If Medicare is taking a bigger bite out of your retirement budget, it can pay to shop around to save money.
2. Your health has changed, and you need different coverage. If you experience a change to your health, you may find that your old plan can’t cover your current needs.
3. Your prescriptions are more expensive. The price of certain medications can increase over time. If you happen to take one of those medications, it could end up costing you a lot more money.
4. You're not happy with the quality of your network services. You may need to see certain specialists or receive additional types of treatment.
5. You want to simplify coverage options. This is often the case when people want to shift to an "all-in-one" Medicare Advantage (MA) plan to bring all their coverage together instead of multiple plans handling different types of health care coverage such as Part A, Part B, a Medicare Supplement plan, or a Part D prescription drug plan (PDP).
Is your coverage still appropriate?
When it comes to health insurance in general, change happens. These changes are usually made by the health insurance companies that sell Medicare Supplement, PDP, and MA plans. It's up to you to determine if these changes help or hurt your health care needs.
Every September, health insurance companies that sell Medicare coverage mail out an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letter to notify you of changes that are coming with your current coverage for the upcoming year. These differences can be cost changes to prescription drugs, increased or decreased types of coverage, or expanding or shrinking the network area of doctors and medical facilities.
If the coverage becomes more limited or expensive, you should research your options and consider making a change.
Why might you switch your coverage?
Here are a few hypothetical scenarios and options for conceptual purposes.
*If you drop Medigap and want to re-enroll later, you will most likely need to go through medical underwriting. You may end up paying a higher premium or not qualifying for coverage at all.
With the holidays right around the corner, now’s the time to take a fresh look at your Medicare options. If you have expensive or insufficient coverage, this is your chance to improve it.
Life is full of changes, and your Medicare decisions are an important part of your ongoing retirement and financial plans. Do your homework, look for any gaps, and let me know if I can help.
Frank Iozzo, CPWA®
President, Private Wealth Advisor
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