It’s that time of year again when we are all reminded to enroll in Medicare Open Enrollment. If you haven’t enrolled yet, the deadline is December 7th for the Medicare Annual Enrollment. There are many plans available with different benefits and premiums. So be sure to compare the options before making a decision. It can seem daunting at first, but don’t worry- I’ve got your back! I will walk you through what you need to know about Medicare coverage and which plan is right for you. And remember- no one should go without Medicare health insurance; if there was ever a good time to sign up, now would be it!
Medicare Open Enrollment is from December 7th to October 15th every year. The health and drug programs for Medicare are continually changing. Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to change their plan each year so they can find the exact right plan for their specific needs.
Welcome to my blog about AEP explained fast and the Medicare Open Enrollment. The Medicare Annual Election Period is right around the corner. This is a list for Medicare help of what you are able to do during this year’s Medicare Annual Enrollment. This is meant to help you with AEP explained fast. By the way, I get this list right from Medicare’s document titled: Understanding Medicare Advantage & Medicare Drug Plan Enrollment Periods.
Change from Original Medicare (with or without a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan) to a Medicare Advantage Plan
Number one on our list is “Change from Original Medicare (with or without a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan) to a Medicare Advantage Plan.” Most people that contact me during the Medicare Open Enrollment and wish to change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage plans are those that have a Medigap plan also called a Medicare Supplement along with a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan, but the premiums are becoming burdensome to pay.
They don’t want only Original Medicare without a Medicare Supplement. Original Medicare without a Medicare Supplement has many high deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. In addition, Original Medicare has no maximum out-of-pocket protection for the Medicare beneficiary. A Medicare Advantage plan can be attractive because many plans have a zero-dollar monthly premium. Some will actually rebate you back all or part of the Medicare Part B premium you pay from your social security benefit. They also can include extras Original Medicare doesn’t cover like:
- Transportation to health care appointments
- Gym memberships
- Most also provide Part D drug coverage at no additional monthly premium
The Medicare Open Enrollment is the time to shop Medicare plans. Get your Medicare options explained, and get your best Medicare Advantage plan.
Medicare Open Enrollment: Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare (with or without a Medicare drug plan)
Second, on our list is Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare (with or without a Medicare drug plan). Clients that contact me about returning to Original Medicare usually do so. Why? Because the Medicare Advantage program they have chosen has a network of providers. Or they will be traveling throughout the United States and wish to be able to see any provider that accepts Original Medicare through the US without a referral.
If you are leaving a Medicare Advantage plan you will likely want to pick a stand-alone Part D drug plan. You probably would like to get a Medigap plan, also called Medicare Supplements. It is important to note, if you are leaving a Medicare Advantage plan you will likely need to go through health underwriting with the company you pick for Medicare supplemental insurance to see if you are an acceptable risk to them. If you are not they can deny you coverage or increase your premium.
Switch from One Medicare Advantage Plan to Another Medicare Advantage Plan
Number three is Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan. This is one of the most underappreciated things you can do during the Medicare Open Enrollment in my opinion. Many Medicare beneficiaries don’t realize that Medicare Advantage plans can change every year. With the popularity of Medicare Advantage growing, there are new plans that become available with additional benefits. Every year just prior to the beginning of the Medicare Annual Enrollment, your Medicare Advantage plan will send you what is called an ANOC. This stands for Annual Notice of Change. This outlines all of the changes to your Medicare Advantage plan coming up for the next calendar year. Having Medicare explained is very important to shop Medicare plans. If you want to change Medicare, you will want the best Medicare broker to give you Medicare Advantage explained clearly.
Medicare Annual Enrollment: Medicare Part B Premium Rebate
One of the top benefits I am seeing more and more of is the Medicare Part B premium rebate. There are more Medicare Advantage plans available that will credit a certain dollar amount back to your social security benefit. If you don’t get social security yet and pay your Medicare Part B premium bill directly, it will reduce the amount of your Medicare Part B premium bill. Also one of the biggest mistakes in my opinion during the Medicare Annual Enrollment is not checking the copays of your prescriptions for the Medicare plan that is renewing against all the available Medicare Advantage plans. When I speak with Medicare beneficiaries about Medicare Advantage, the first thing I look at is the cost of all of their prescriptions inside of their current Medicare Advantage with Part D coverage.
To shop Medicare plans it is very advantageous to start looking at the different costs of prescriptions from the different Medicare Advantage plans available. When searching for the best Medicare broker, and I like to think I am one of them. You will want them to be able to clearly have all of your Medicare options explained. This is to help you pick the best Medicare Advantage plan for your exact needs. Many times there are Medicare plans available to you with lower copays for your prescriptions. With lower max out-of-pockets and many other copays. All the while you don’t need to change any of your doctors or providers.
Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug Coverage
Number four on the list is Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage. I don’t run into this too often. But you need to be careful if you go from a Medicare Advantage plan without Part D drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage plan with Part D drug coverage. If you don’t have another form of creditable coverage for prescriptions like VA (Veterans Association) coverage or a prior Part D plan you will likely incur the Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty.
You will even get this penalty if you choose a Medicare Advantage plan that has a zero-dollar monthly premium. Or a Medicare Part B rebate. Also sometimes called a Medicare Part B giveback. When contacting the giant call centers or the insurance companies directly to change Medicare, they will usually not bring this up as they are so focused on making sales. I am here to give you complete Medicare help. I will make sure there is no stone left unturned when it comes to Medicare explained.
Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug Coverage
Number five is Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage. Many times Medicare Advantage plans that don’t have Part D drug coverage have additional benefits that Medicare Advantage plans with Part D coverage don’t have. You are probably asking why someone would do this.
The people I get calls from about this are those that have VA drug coverage and don’t need a Part D prescription plan. More Medicare Advantage plans are becoming available without Part D and are offering more benefits than Medicare Advantage plans with Part D coverage. So veterans contact me for Medicare help to shop Medicare plans available in their area to see if they should get new Medicare insurance.
Join a Medicare drug Plan
Sixth on the list is to join a Medicare drug plan. This choice is for those that don’t already have a Medicare Part D prescription plan and would like to enroll in one for the first time. Some people choose not to get a Medicare Part D plan when they are initially eligible for many different reasons. Maybe they felt they didn’t need one because they didn’t take prescription drugs or maybe they have other creditable coverage. Whatever the case, the Medicare Annual Enrollment is a time you can choose a Medicare Part D plan when you don’t already have one. If you haven’t had a Medicare Part D plan before and don’t have any credible coverage you will likely incur the Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty.
Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug Plan
Next and seventh on the list is Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan. Just like shopping for a different Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment you can shop and change your Medicare Part D drug coverage as well. Just like with Medicare Advantage plans, you should have gotten what is called an ANOC. This stands for Annual Notice of Change. This outlines all of the changes to your Medicare Part D plan coming up for the next calendar year.
You should be comparing your Medicare Part D plan against other plans every year in my opinion. Like Medicare Advantage plans there are new plans coming available with different deductibles, copays, and premiums that can give Medicare help. By shopping, all of the plans available, and there are about 30 different plans in each state depending on which state you are in. You can make sure you are getting a plan with the best possible costs. It isn’t unusual for someone with the wrong Medicare Part D plan to be paying a few thousand extra dollars a year than they should be.
Medicare Annual Enrollment: Drop your Medicare drug coverage Completely
Last and the proverbial not least is number 8 on our list, Drop your Medicare drug coverage completely. This is pretty straightforward. If you feel you no longer want or need to pay for a stand-alone Part D plan, you can just outright drop the plan. Dropping a plan is not as easy as not paying the bill. If you have a Medicare Part D plan and do nothing during the Medicare Annual Enrollment, your Part D plan will automatically renew and you will owe the new premiums. You need to do one of two things to get your Medicare Part D plan cancel.
First seems obvious but rarely is done. Simply call the plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment and ask them to disenroll you. The second way to disenroll from your stand-alone Medicare Part D plan is to simply enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan that also has Medicare Part D coverage in the plan. If you change Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan you will automatically be disenrolled from your stand-alone Medicare Part D plan. You will not need to contact your previous company.
Conclusion — Medicare Open Enrollment | Proven Tools to Your Best Medicare!
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it helpful. If so, I would love to hear from you in the comments below! Are there any other Medicare questions or topics that have been on your mind? Leave a comment with your thoughts and get an answer from me today. It’s not too late for anyone who hasn’t enrolled yet-the deadline is December 7th!
About The Author — Christopher Duncan
I’m Chris Duncan, owner of Trusted Benefits Direct. As your Medicare advisor, I want you to know that my business offers superior solutions for everyone. I do not work for insurance companies, which allows me to serve you at a high level without any hidden agendas or conflicts of interest. All resources are provided at no cost. Because people must find peace of mind when looking ahead years down the line.
As an insurance agent, it’s my goal to make your life easier. That includes the process of securing all types of coverage for you and your loved ones, including Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, Final Expense life insurance services, and retirement security plans. You can reach me toll-free at 800-910-3382 or get a free quote on MedicareRateQuote.com with just a few clicks! Don’t forget that I also offer contact forms if you would like more information from trustedbenefitsdirect.com – click here now!
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