Medicare beneficiaries should review their plan yearly. There may be a new plan that better meets current needs. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is a set time each year for changing your Medicare coverage choices, if you choose. AEP runs from October 15 to December 7. New coverage choices go into effect on January 1.
Shopping for insurance can feel tedious and overwhelming. Perhaps that’s why many Medicare beneficiaries opt to stay in their current plan, even if it’s the one they were auto-enrolled into when they became Medicare-eligible.
A Medicare review during the AEP gives a chance to review benefits, decide whether the plan is working for one’s needs and prepare to possibly switch to another option. Reviewing plan options is important because new Medicare Advantage plans become available each year.
For those who have original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan may cover additional services, such as vision and dental care. If already using Medicare Advantage, a different plan might better serve individual needs. Reviewing the options can help with selecting the plan that best fits one’s current health and financial realities.
As our life needs change, so too might our Medicare needs. Moving to a nursing home or developing a chronic illness may mean that a Medicare Advantage special needs plan will be a good option.
Some signs that one may need to change their Medicare plan include: paying more out-of-pocket for medical expenses, taking a new prescription drug that is not covered, seeing different doctors who do not accept the current plan or simply not having evaluated plan options in several years.
It is always a good time to review Medicare coverage. Gap coverage that covers co-pays and services that Medicare does not cover such as co-pays for hospital stays and emergency services, dental/vision/hearing, cancer and critical illness and final expense coverage are available throughout the entire year. Many may be eligible for a special enrollment period.Holly Baker is an independent Medicare advisor in Tucson. She provides complimentary cost and coverage reviews to Medicare enrollees and helps clients fill the holes in Medicare. There is never a charge to the client for her services. Connect at 520-769-2378 or [email protected]. See ad, page 9.