Three Tips for AEP

Annual Election Period Coming Soon.

Here Are Three Steps That Can Save You Money.

KEY POINTS

  • The open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans begins October 15 and runs through December 7.
  • Don’t automatically re-enroll in the same plan you have. Doctors and networks can change, and you can find yourself with very high costs.
  • In September, plans send members an “annual change notice” inviting you to review changes in coverage, costs, and services for the upcoming year.

We are a month and a half to the Medicare open enrollment period, and now is the time to act if you want to save some money next year.

Open enrollment for Medicare and Part D prescription drug coverage takes place every year from October 15 to December 7. It is a critical period for seniors as this is when they can review, Compare and find plans that best meet your needs next year. Make sure you choose the right plan for your needs and don’t miss out on a plan that might be best for you.

Changes you can make include switching from Original Medicare (Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical coverage) to a private Medicare Advantage plan. You can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, as well as buy a prescription drug plan.

Determining what is appropriate is not an easy task for consumers, who may not know the details of their coverage right away. For those still working, they can take advantage of your job’s personnel department who select the plan options and present you with a menu of two or three different options to choose from. The same is true for prescription drug coverage, where an eHealth comparison tool could save you up to $982 per year, according to Mercado de Salud de Shea, which tracked 111,000 users 1 during the open enrollment period at 2019.

Here are three steps that can help make the selection process a little less overwhelming.

1. Know your plan

Now in the month of September, keep an eye on your mailbox because you will receive an “annual notice of change” from your Medicare plan detailing all the changes that will be made for the new year, including coverage and costs, such as premiums, deductibles and copays. You will receive this notice only if you already have Medicare, regardless of whether you are employed or not.

Managing your costs involves more than just checking your premiums. It is extremely important that you collect your medical expenses for the last six months and get a list of the doctors you visit regularly and the medications you take. Your new coverage and costs will be affected by new medical conditions, if any; as well as medications and doctors.

2. Compare plans

As soon as you’ve figured out the pros and cons of your plan, start comparing the available plans. Hence, you acquire better benefits and get the most out of your coverage.

Medicare has a very useful online tool that can help you select a plan. This plan finder will ask for your zip code and details of the medications you take, even if you receive them in the mail. Have this list handy and include them all.

You can also try state health insurance assistance programs, which offer free local counseling to members, as well as local independent agencies that offer this free counseling to all Medicare beneficiaries, giving you their knowledge and experience to help you with your Review and compare available Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans in one place.

Don’t assume that you can just repeat coverage from the current year. Remember that maximizing your coverage and benefits depends on this annual review and only you can initiate it. Most people think that studying their plan options and choosing one can be an overwhelming experience, but benefits and networks can change and you can be involved in higher costs and miss out on extra benefits that could add more value to your health care. In addition, that current and future health conditions may also undergo changes.

3. Get in the habit of planning

When we talk about Medicare it is important to talk about retirement planning. Working with your financial advisor can help you manage your premium costs. Premiums for some parts of Medicare, like Part B (Medical Insurance) and Part D (Prescription Drugs) are based on your modified adjusted gross income from two years ago. That means the premiums you’ll pay in 2021 will be based on your 2019 income tax return.

At this point, there isn’t much you can do to change your 2019 income. However, you still have time to plan for your 2022 premium expenses. Talk to your advisor now to see what you can do to manage your income for this year. It can help you lower your Medicare costs in the future.

Keeping these three tips in mind each year will not only help you be better prepared when vital plan changes are needed, but it will also help you maximize your income by providing you with security and peace of mind. If you have any questions about your current coverage or upcoming plan changes for this year’s Annual Election Period, please contact us at 855-GO-AVILA or by email at info@avilamedicare.com.