My Medicare Plan Benefits Changed: What Are My Next Steps?
Your Original Medicare Part A and Part B benefits don’t change often. However, what may change are costs like premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.
That said, Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans can change benefits and costs annually.
These changes are outlined in your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC). Read on to learn more about the ANOC and what to do if your benefits change.
|What is the Annual Notice of Change?||Jump to|
|When Can You Change Medicare Plans?||Jump to|
|How to Prepare to Change Your Medicare Plan?||Jump to|
What is the Annual Notice of Change?
Every September, Medicare health and drug plan enrollees will receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) from their insurance provider. This letter includes any changes in coverage or cost that will come into effect in January.
If you notice that the cost of your Medicare plan has increased or that your coverage no longer matches your needs, it’s time to reevaluate your options.
If you don’t get this document in September, then contact your plan to request a copy.
When Can You Change Medicare Plans?
Fortunately, you won’t have to wait long before you can do something about your Medicare plan benefits changing.
Each year, Medicare enrollees can change their health insurance during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Often referred to as open enrollment, during this time, Medicare enrollees can:
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Add, switch or drop Part D Prescription Drug Plans
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another
- Drop a Medicare Advantage Plan for Original Medicare
Once you change your coverage, it will go into effect on Jan. 1.
There are other enrollment periods that may allow you to make similar changes. Click here to learn more about when you can change Medicare Advantage Plans.
What about Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Insurance?
Many people who decide to drop Medicare Advantage during AEP are doing so because they decided Medicare Supplement Insurance is a better fit.
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You can apply for a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan at any time. This includes during AEP.
However, you may have to go through medical underwriting if you don’t qualify for guaranteed issue.
If you’re considering switching from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Supplement, you’ll want to speak to a licensed insurance agent who is knowledgeable about both products. They can let you know if there are any concerns about qualifying for Medigap.
How to Prepare to Change Your Medicare Plan?
From the time you get your ANOC letter to the start of AEP on Oct. 15, you’ll have some time to evaluate your Medicare plan. That way, you’ll be ready to make changes.
During this evaluation process, there are three steps you should follow:
- Step 1: Needs Analysis
- Step 2: Review Changes
- Step 3: Compare Plans
During you needs analysis, your need to ask yourself questions such as how your overall health is, are you comfortable with your health care costs and if you need to change doctors or specialists for any reason.
With your health needs analysis in mind, you should next review your current Medicare plan changes. Take a close look at your ANOC with your needs analysis in mind to see if changing plans is a viable option.
Finally, if you decide to see what your Medicare options are, it’s time to compare plans with a licensed insurance agent. You begin doing this on Oct. 1 when plans for the new year are release.
We have a more in-depth breakdown of the three steps to preparing for a successful Medicare Annual Enrollment Period here.
Compare Medicare Advantage Plans Online
It’s not always a bad thing when benefits change. Sometimes, they change for the better. But if you’re unhappy with the changes you’ve experienced in your Medicare Advantage Plan, you can compare options online right here at ensurem.com.
Education is crucial in finding the right Medicare solution for you. With so many Medicare resources out there, it can be difficult finding a source you can trust. That’s why Ensurem has a Compliance Program dedicated to ensuring our Medicare content meets CMS regulations. So, you can rest assured you’re getting the information you need to make the right coverage decisions. Learn more here.
Ensurem Trusted Expertise
Education is crucial in finding the right Medicare solution for you. With so many Medicare resources out there, it can be difficult finding a source you can trust. That’s why Ensurem has a Compliance Program dedicated to ensuring our Medicare content meets Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations. So, you can rest assured you’re getting the information you need to make the right coverage decisions.
Denise Austin, 65, Ensurem Ambassador
Best-Selling Author, Creator of Fit Over 50 Magazine
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