As you might already know, Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP) begins on October 15 and runs through December 7 each year. During this time, you can evaluate your current Medicare plan and decide whether to stick with it or choose a different one. But with so many choices available to you, a structured plan is needed to help you sort out your options.
Gather your Medicare statements. Throughout the year, you should receive regular statements from Medicare or your Advantage plan provider, detailing your out-of-pocket expenses. You will need these to determine whether your healthcare spending is working for your budget. Even if you feel that your spending is in line with your expectations, it can’t hurt to investigate other Medicare plans. You might save even more money.
Look for your annual notice of change (ANOC). Each year, your healthcare plan administrator must send you an annual notice of change, notifying you of any upcoming changes to your current plan. Even if you like the plan, changes such as loss of a provider or a different structure to the plan’s formulary (list of covered drugs) could make it a poor fit for you going forward. If any pending changes will negatively impact you, it’s time to look for a different plan.
Make a list of your medications and preferred providers/facilities. This will help you when comparing Advantage plans, to determine whether your medications, providers, and facilities are even covered under each plan’s network.
Talk to an expert. Our Medicare specialists can help you determine which Advantage plans are available in your area, or whether Original Medicare might be a better fit for you. If you choose Original Medicare, you might also wish to add a Part D (prescription) plan, or a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap) to address any uncovered expenses.
Remember, if you do nothing, you will be automatically re-enrolled into your current Medicare plan(s). Comparing your options is always a wise move to help manage your budget.