As we roll into Fall, we want to remind you that the Medicare annual open enrollment period begins October 15th and ends December 7th. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries can re-shop and/or change their healthcare plans or Part D prescription drug plans for the following calendar year. It’s possible your plan provider has made some changes, and not only might costs and coverages have changed, but your health might have too.
Medicare Advantage Plans: Medicare Advantage Plans replace Original Medicare with HMO- or PPO-like plans, benefits, and premiums, which can change yearly. Advantage policyholders receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from their plan provider, usually around the end of September.
The ANOC should be reviewed carefully for changes to coverage, costs, co-pays, or service area. Policyholders should also check to see if their preferred doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other providers are still in their plan. During Open Enrollment, beneficiaries may change from Original Medicare (Parts A and B) to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa, or switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
The EOC is a comprehensive document explaining how the plan works and describing benefits, cost-sharing expenses, and what the plan pays. It’s wise to compare other plans each year to see if a different one has become a better fit. If you’re happy with your current coverage, you don’t need to do anything, and your policy will simply auto-renew. However, what if your current plan is being discontinued? In that case, you’ll be notified by a non-renewal notice from your carrier and asked to choose a new plan.
Part D Plans: The company that provides a beneficiary’s current drug coverage will also send an ANOC, so beneficiaries can ensure all their medications are still covered by the plan. During Open Enrollment, beneficiaries may switch to a different Part D plan or enroll in Part D. If a beneficiary did not enroll in Part D during their general open enrollment period, a late enrollment fee may apply.
Healthcare decisions can be complicated. You can find a wealth of helpful info on the Medicare.gov website. In the meantime, if you need help evaluating your options or determining how healthcare costs may impact your retirement, please reach out; we’re always happy to assist.
Reminder: Time to Review your Medicare Plan!
October 31, 2023