October 15 through December 7 is Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), also known as Fall Open Enrollment. During this period, Medicare beneficiaries make important decisions about whether they should change to their Medicare coverage for the coming year.
During AEP you can:
- Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
- Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare A and B.
- Enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, switch from one Part D plan to another, or opt out of Part D completely.
How do you decide if you should keep your current coverage or change to a different plan? There are few things to consider.
Is Your Current Plan Changing for 2024?
Every September, Medicare beneficiaries with a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan receive an Annual Notice of Change letter (ANOC) from their insurance carrier. As this letter will describe changes to your plan for 2024, it’s important to review it carefully. Look for changes in costs such as premiums, deductibles, and copays, changes to covered benefits, adjustments to the service area or provider network, and changes to the drug formulary. The letter goes out prior to AEP to give you plenty of time to find another plan if any of the changes will negatively impact you.
Have Your Circumstances Changed?
Have your own circumstances have changed this year? If you have experienced changes to your health, you might be seeing different doctors or specialists or your prescriptions may have changed. Maybe you have decided to travel more and will be out of your plan’s local coverage area more often. Alternatively, your financial situation may have changed. Any of these could be reasons to review your current coverage to see if it is still the best fit.
New Coverage Options May Be Available
If nothing has changed in terms of your current plan and personal circumstances, you don’t need to take any action. However, you are encouraged to review your options. This is because there may be new plans or additional benefits available for 2024 that better suit your needs. You’ll have peace of mind if you know you have the best coverage for the coming year.
Meet with a Local Texas Medicare Agent to Find the Right Plan for You
Reviewing your current coverage and looking at new plan options might seem overwhelming, but a local Texas Medicare agent can help. Licensed Medicare agents represent many health insurance carriers and are familiar with all the plans offered in your area. Your agent will take the time to review your specific needs and find the right coverage for you. There is never any cost for this service.
After you have received your ANOC letter is a good time to reach out to an agent to set up an appointment to review your policy. Gather the following information to bring with you to the meeting:
- Your ANOC letter specifying any changes to your current plan
- A list of your healthcare providers, including doctors, specialists, and hospitals
- A list of your medications and dosages along with details about your preferred pharmacy
- Your budget for premium costs and other out-of-pocket expenses
- A list of supplemental benefits that are important to you, such as hearing, dental, vision, gym memberships, etc.
- Details about any chronic conditions or ongoing treatments
- A list of any questions you have
When you establish a relationship with a local Medicare agent, you have access to a trusted advisor who can assist you year round, not just during AEP.
Protect Yourself from Scams
As AEP activity ramps up, so does the potential for Medicare fraud. It’s important to remain vigilant and protect your personal information. Here are a few reminders:
- Medicare does not allow unsolicited phone calls or visits to your home.
- Do not open unsolicited emails or text messages. If you open one by accident, do not click on any links in the message.
- Although CMS has taken steps to reduce fraudulent advertising, you still need to practice caution. Never call an 800 number from a Medicare ad – you may end up with coverage that does not meet your needs.
It’s best not to make any changes to your coverage without first speaking with a local Texas Medicare agent.
Medicare Educators Can Help
The experienced and knowledgeable team at Medicare Educators will show you all your options and help you compare a variety of plans. We make Medicare easy! Contact us today to set up your AEP appointment.