For most people who are on Medicare, it is very likely that they have heard the phrase Annual Enrollment Period, or it’s abbreviation AEP. Many Medicare beneficiaries may wonder what this Annual Enrollment Period means for them and their current coverage. Medicare coverage year AEP runs from October 15 to December 7 every year. This will be the only opportunity a beneficiary has to review, renew and/or change their current Medicare plans for the upcoming year, unless they fall under an SEP (Special Election Period) which is only available when significant life events occur. In order to be fully prepared for AEP it is important to do some homework first.
1) Review Your Current Plan
The first step is to review your current coverage. You may be surprised to learn that changes are being made to your plan. Here are some things to look out for:
- You may discover that you need additional coverage
- You are paying for coverage you do not need
- Your Primary Care Physician or Specialists may/may not still accept your current plan.
- Your plan’s formulary (Part C or your Part D drug plan) prescription medications may/may not be still covered, or the price for your prescriptions may have changed.
- Some plans may be discontinued
- Premiums may be going up or down
It is always in a beneficiary’s best interest to check on and take all of these issues into consideration. Not doing so can cause much headache and possible financial troubles later.
2) Renew or Change Your Current Plan
Once you have a clear picture of your current coverage, and what your out of pocket costs for the previous year were, you have some decisions to make. If you are happy with your current plan and want to keep it for the plan year, and you are comfortable with any changes that will be made to the plan and you are positive that it is a good fit for your needs, then you can choose to renew your plan. In that case you will not have to do anything during AEP, your plan will just renew on January 1st .
However, if you are not happy with your current plan, you have the option to change your coverage. In any case it is always best to check out other plans in your area and see how they compare. You may be surprised to find a plan which offers more coverage at a better price.
3) Want to Change Your Plan? Get a Quote First!
All of this information can be overwhelming and stressful if you don’t know where to begin.
When you get a quote, it can really help you to stay on top of critical changes with your health plan, and can also help decrease your cost and prevent you from incurring any Medicare penalties. Most importantly it will help lessen your worry and stress that any of these big changes could bring.
At Trusted Senior Specialists, our goal is to make this event as stress-free for you as possible. When you visit our website, there is an option to talk to a live agent or schedule an appointment for a later date where one of our Trusted Senior Specialists agents will show you all of the health plans that are available in your area. With this plan, you will be able to:
- See each plan will give details as to what their covered services are, premiums amounts, deductibles etc.
- Check to see what doctors are in that network
- See if your prescriptions would be covered under that plan.
When you are able to view all of these plans side by side, it will help you make an informed decision regarding your health care needs, and you are in control without feeling any hassle or pressure.
The Annual Enrollment Period is coming up soon, and now is as good of time as any to start doing your homework. If you are not happy with your current coverage AEP is the time to take action!