5 Resources to Help You Prepare for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
If you’re 65-plus years of age or have Medicare, you’re probably familiar with the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. If you’re a little fuzzy on the details, here’s a quick refresher. Every year, starting on October 15 and running through December 7, you have the opportunity to enroll in or change your Medicare Advantage plan for the following calendar year.
If you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, the Annual Enrollment Period is a great time to check in to see if your needs have changed and if you’re still satisfied with your current plan and coverage:
- If you’re happy with your plan, you don’t need to do a thing. Your membership automatically continues into the next year.
- If you aren’t satisfied, this is the right time to do some research and see if there is a plan that better meets your needs for coverage, costs, or added benefits.
Medicare Annual Enrollment starts October 15. What should you do to get ready?
You might have noticed TV ads for Medicare Advantage plans. And you’ve almost certainly seen flyers and information in your mailbox. But to really do some research, you’ll have to look deeper.
Here are five sources to help you sort through the information to find the Medicare Advantage plan that fits you best:
- Friends and family members. Sometimes the people you see and talk to can be a great help in choosing your Medicare Advantage plan. Ask your friends and family members who have Medicare which plan they have and how it has worked out for them. Find out what they like about their plan, the benefits, and what, if anything, they don’t. We’ve heard from members who tell us they joined SCAN Health Plan based on their parents’ good experience!
- Government and private company websites. Medicare.gov is a government website that provides educational material about Medicare plans, drug coverage, and other Medicare-related questions. SCAN Health Plan also has information to help you learn about Medicare Advantage Plans, and how they can benefit you.
- Medicare brokers in your area. Independent health insurance brokers are familiar with many plans in your area. They can suggest plans that work with your preferred doctors, cover your medications, and meet your budget. If you haven’t worked with a broker before, ask friends and neighbors if they can refer you to theirs. There’s no cost to work with a broker.
- HICAP. You can also receive helpful information from Medicare counselors at the Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (hicap.org). At HICAP, you can join online presentations and take part in information sessions to learn about your Medicare coverage options. You can also meet face to face with a counselor to get more information about plans you’re considering. There’s no fee for these services.
- Your doctor(s). Before choosing a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctors to make sure they’re in the plan’s network of providers. This is especially important if you are not willing to change doctors.
It’s also important to check and see if the plan you’re considering covers the prescription drugs you take. It’s easy to find out. Just ask your broker or a representative of the plan if the drugs you need are on the plan’s formulary (list of covered drugs). Or, if you have a plan in mind, you can check the plan’s formulary. You can look up your medications by name in SCAN Health Plan’s online formulary.
Why enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan?
A Medicare Advantage plan offers many benefits that might make it the right option for you. Some of these include:
- Extra benefits — Medicare Advantage plans can include coverage for things like hearing aids, dental, and vision care, which aren’t covered by Original Medicare.
- Lower costs — Many Medicare Advantage plans have low or no monthly premiums, and out-of-pocket costs are typically lower than those for Original Medicare.
- Spending caps — With Medicare Advantage, there’s a limit on how much you will pay out of pocket for covered hospital and medical care each year.
- Drug coverage — Many Medicare Advantage plans have prescription drug coverage included.
- All-in-one care — You can get your hospital, medical, and drug benefits through one insurance company, which can be easier than Original Medicare.
Choosing the right plan can give you peace of mind and financial protection. If you’re not sure about your options, feel free to contact an insurance broker or SCAN Health Plan directly. We know Medicare can be confusing, but with a little guidance, you’ll find the plan that meets your needs and works for you. Remember, the deadline for the Annual Enrollment Period is December 7.
If you don’t have a Medicare Advantage plan, take a look at the benefits, comprehensive coverage, award-winning service, and more offered by SCAN Health Plan.