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5 Tips For Medicare Open Enrollment

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It’s that time of the year again. The holidays will be here soon, and with that time period also comes your annual open enrollment period for Medicare.

So many decisions, so little time. Let’s take a quick look at this opportunity and why you should take advantage of it.

Here are 5 Tips For Medicare Open Enrollment:

1. Don’t Miss Your Annual Open Enrollment

Don’t miss this opportunity to take advantage to evaluate your current position against other possible choices. Open Enrollment for your 2019 coverage is Oct 15 through Dec 7, 2018. Your choices will go into effect Jan 1, 2019. The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is your once a year opportunity to make changes to your plan.

This is the one time each year when you can switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare or vice versa. You can switch from one Medicare Advantage to a different Medicare Advantage, or change your Medicare Part D prescription coverage to a different Medicare Part D plan.

If you do not have a Medicare Part D plan for prescriptions, this is your opportunity to find one. This is usually your only opportunity each year to improve your coverage, save money, or possibly both.

2. Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute

Don’t you hate the stress you experience when you wait until the last minute to get things done? Don’t let your Medicare decisions become a part of your last minute holiday rush. Start looking at choices early in the season to you give yourself adequate time to make your best decision possible.

Decisions made under duress are usually not the best decisions you’ll make, so start evaluating at your options early in the season. And also realize that insurance brokers are under significant stress this time of year as well. If you start early, you are more likely to get the time and attention you need from your agent. Most of us are stretched pretty thin toward to later part of Medicare AEP.

3. Understand Automatic Renewal

If you do nothing your policy will usually automatically renew with the same coverage you currently have. However, you really should check to see if changes have occurred that you are not aware of. Sometimes your providers Medicare Part D coverage will change the drugs they cover, cost of said drugs, premiums, deductibles, copays, etc.

Medicare Advantage plans update each year as well. You need to be aware of any network, out of pocket, prescription changes and so forth.

Make sure they are still covering the prescriptions you are using. It is also possible for them to change the coverage that is available. If your Medicare plan is no longer being offered or if you are ineligible you will receive a non-renewal notice in the mail.

4. Check Your Providers are Accepting Your Coverage Choice

Not all doctors and healthcare providers accept Medicare, and not all doctors accept all plans, so check with your preferred providers to make sure the plan you choose is accepted. Also, make sure your Prescription D coverage will cover any medicines you currently take on a regular basis.

There are several tiers available for prescription coverage and they can vary in what they will cover so you’ll want to be sure your meds are covered at a rate you can afford. If you have limited providers for your medications you’ll want to be sure your store has not changed the plans that you are currently using or wanting to change to.

And the pharmacy you use can make a big difference. Many Part D plans offer lower costs at their network of preferred pharmacies. Make sure to check the pharmacy you prefer is the best one for the plan you choose. It can save you hundreds of dollars.

5. Do I need Medicare Supplement Insurance?

You may have heard about Medicare Supplement Insurance –  also called a ‘Medigap’ policy. These are separate insurance policies that cover out-of-pocket costs Medicare does not cover. This could include things such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.

In most states, a Medicare Supplemental Insurance policy can be purchased anytime. However, if you are considering dropping or changing your Medicare or Medicare Advantage you will want to make sure you qualify for a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy before making that change. In many cases, you’ll have to pass medical underwriting so you’ll want to start early to see if you qualify.

Let Us Help You Sort Through Your Options

There are so many choices available, so be sure to make the most of this opportunity. Give one of our friendly and skilled brokers a call as we can help you sort through the many choices and help you make the best choice.

Give the Hyers & Associates team members a call and let us take some of the stress out of the decision making. You’ll be glad you did. We promise.

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Category: Medicare Supplements

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