When you first enrolled in Medicare at age 65, you did your research and made a series of decisions about your coverage. Hopefully you’ve been happy with your Medicare plan(s) so far. But if you’re less than satisfied, you do have the opportunity to make changes each year during the Annual Election Period (AEP). And even if you do feel like your plan works for you, you should review it each year anyway, for four important reasons.
An even better plan might be available to you. Who doesn’t want to save a bit more money each month? With new Medicare plans added to the market each year, you might be surprised to find one that better suits your budget. And sometimes your healthcare needs might change, so looking into your options could result in a plan that provides for your changing needs.
Plan premiums can change. Even if you like your current plan, the monthly premium can change from one coverage year to the next. That could result in a negative impact on your budget. So make sure to research your options and compare with other plans during AEP.
Your coverage could change. No matter how well your Medicare plan has served you in the past, the coverage network might change. This could mean that your favorite doctors or facilities drop out of the plan, and you’re forced to seek care elsewhere. Or, you can look for a plan that does offer the network that suits you, and switch so that you can continue seeing your favorite providers.
Prescription benefits can also change, meaning an important medication might become more expensive for you. Since that’s a regular expense, it makes sense to be certain your prescriptions will be covered to maximum amount possible.
You might want additional benefits. Medicare Advantage plans include much more than just hospitalization and doctor visits. Many plans include dental or vision care, and some even provide benefits like a gym membership. But you won’t know about these extra bells and whistles unless you look into the details of all the plans available to you.
Each fall, you should receive an Annual Notice of Change from your Medicare plan administrator. Read it carefully to understand how your current plan is changing in the following coverage year. And if you need help learning about these changes or researching the other plans available to you, give us a call and we will offer our expert guidance.