You have a lot of choices when it comes to Medicare and the biggest one might be choosing to take charge of your Medicare decisions in the first place. Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15 – December 7) is your chance to take charge. Here are some common mistakes that you don’t want to make during this time—and why.
1. Allowing automatic plan renewal to make your choice for you
Your Medicare Advantage or Part D plan renews every year on January 1, unless you decide to change it.
Automatic renewal may make your life easy, but it may not be the best way to make your Medicare decisions. Plans may change what they cover from year to year. They may also change what you will pay in premium, deductible, copay or coinsurance amounts. Insurance companies review their plans each year to make sure they’re still viable. Shouldn’t you do the same?
2. Ignoring your plan’s Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC)
You should have received an Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) from your Medicare plan in the mail. This document explains any changes in your plan benefits or costs for the upcoming year. The changes may affect your health care and your budget. Make sure you review this document.
3. Basing your plan choice on the premium alone
It’s easy to focus only on premiums when looking at Medicare costs. But it’s a good idea to look at the big picture, too. A plan with a low monthly premium may charge a large deductible or have high copayments. You might prefer this if you rarely go to the doctor and don’t take many medications. But a plan like this could be expensive if you use health care services often, even with the low premium. It’s important to think about all the out-of-pocket costs as well as your health care needs when choosing a plan.
4. Picking a plan because your spouse or friend has it
You might count on a friend’s word when deciding what new restaurant to try, but a Medicare plan is a personal choice. What works for one person may not fit with the needs of another. You have several Medicare Advantage or Part D plans to choose from. It’s a good idea to look at all your options, keeping your health care needs and budget in mind. Coverage and costs may vary quite a bit from plan to plan.
Remember, Medicare Open Enrollment exists so that you have a chance to change your Medicare Advantage or Part D coverage once each year if you decide to. You may want to take the opportunity to review your current coverage and your needs so you can make an informed decision.
For more help with your Medicare plan options, contact us at 941-405-3900.