Do you know what October 15th is? It is the first day of Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period. This means it is time for Florida seniors to focus on making any changes they need to their current plans. We are well aware that any changes to your plan can be worrisome and overwhelming. However, it is important that you have the right health care coverage for yourself. With that said, we would like to share seven tips you can use to ensure that you have the best information available when making your decision.
1. Always remember the dates. You need to know and remember that October 15th is the first day of Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period and December 7th is the last day. So, beginning in October you can make changes to your plan. Be aware that the time is limited.
2. Will you have “extra” costs? Extra costs could mean anything from out of pocket costs and out of network coverage to changing providers and new pharmacies. Be aware that there is much for you, as a Medicare beneficiary, to review when it comes to what Medicare does and does not provide.
3. Have you given any thought to your health care needs? No one should take their health for granted. If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything it is to not take our health for granted. Think about it, does your plan fit what you need right now? Do you need to do some research for a different health care plan to provide more of what you need?
4. Do you know whether your current plan is changing? As of the end of September you should have received an “annual notice of change” letter from your Medicare plan. It is important that you take the time to read and review your Annual Notice of Change letter. Your letter will go into detail about your benefits and explain the changes coming in the new year.
5. Are there any additional plans in your community? For information about any additional plans in your community you can look at The Medicare Plan Finder on the Medicare website. This is an online tool from the government which can help you select and compare plans in your community. It is based on key factors, such as your zip code, your medications, and your diagnoses. Once you provide this information, you can compare Medicare plans available in your area.
6. Are there any alternative medicine services allowed? Yes, a number of plans have options for alternative medicine services. From chiropractic care and massages to gym memberships and over the counter medications, there may be more options available than you realize. This is something you should research during this important time of year.
7. Is there a less expensive option? Premiums for some parts of Medicare are based on your modified adjusted gross income (or MAGI) from two years ago. While you cannot change your income, you can plan for 2022’s premiums.
8. Do you know the lingo! What is Medicare? What is the difference between a PPO and an HMO. When researching the right plan for yourself the more information you gather the better.
9. Remember to check and see if your doctors and prescriptions are included in your current plan. If you are thinking about changing your plan, check to see if the doctors you like are part of your new plan. Also, as you continue your research make sure you have access to what you need for your health care needs.
We encourage you to take the time you need to get the correct Medicare plan for you and your loved ones.
We know this topic may raise more questions that it answers and want to help you plan for the future, and the unexpected. Whether you're young and single or a married five-time great grandparent, your voice and wishes need to be known. Worley Elder Law, based in beautiful Bradenton, Florida, focuses on helping you understand your options in designing your Estate Plan or Elder Law needs. Whether it's preventative incapacity planning or establishing your legacy, we will take the time to explain every option and work with you to create a customized plan just as unique as you and your family are. Please do not hesitate to contact us to let us help you.