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October 20, 2021
8 Tips to Get the Most Out of Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

8 Tips to Get the Most Out of Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

If you have Medicare, then you might be aware that we are entering one of the most important times of the year: Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period. This is the main time of year when you can alter your Medicare coverage.  

To help make sure that you are making the most of your Medicare Open Enrollment, we’ve put together a list of our top tips we suggest you do during the upcoming months.  

Reminder! The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period ends December 7 – call us at 833-801-7999 make changes to your health and drug plans before it's over!

Tip #1: Don’t assume your coverage will be the same next year.

One of the most important things you can know about Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug plans is that they can change year to year.

Sometimes, these might be small changes, like a slightly higher copay. But other times, these can be major changes like switching you to a new plan with double the premium.

For example, this year, clients with the 2021 WellCare Select plan ($20/month) will be moved automatically to the 2022 WellCare Value Plus ($68/month).* If you do nothing, your premium will go up significantly!

*Exact premiums vary depending on where you live

To ensure that you know what your current plan will cover in the upcoming year, you will need to consult your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC). The ANOC is documentation your insurance provider sends you in September every year that outlines any changes your current plan will experience in the upcoming year.

Tip #2: Shop the market, whether you love your plan now or not.

Even if you are loving your current plan, you should still explore your options during the Medicare Enrollment Period. You never know what you’ll find. There may be a plan with better coverage or a lower premium. A new plan might have become available in your area.

The point is, if you never look, you’ll never know if you’re settling for a plan because you’re comfortable.

Tip #3: Always double (and triple) check your providers, hospital and pharmacy networks.

Whether you are planning on staying in your current plan or are thinking of switching, you need to make sure you’re going to be covered at all the places you’ll visit in the upcoming year.

Are all your doctors covered? What about your preferred pharmacy? Is there a nearby hospital in your network in case you need it? What about any specialists you go to?

These are questions that need answered before you make your final choice on coverage for next year.  

Tip #4: Check your Prescription Drug Plan.

Let’s face it: prescription drugs can be expensive. That’s why you will want to make sure each and every prescription is covered by your drug plan. Check copays, generics and any supplies you might need, like syringes.    

Don’t have a drug plan? One of the things you might want to consider this year is adding one. Part D Prescription Drug Plans are one of the things you can add or drop during the Open Enrollment Period.

Just be aware that, if you’ve never had a Part D plan before and you’re over 65, you might have late-enrollment penalties.  

Tip #5: Know your deadlines.

Medicare Open Enrollment ends on December 7th. That means you need to make any changes you want to your coverage before that date.

To help you remember the important Medicare dates, we’ve put together this handy resource for you to reference.

Tip #6: If you don’t like your new Medicare Advantage plan, you aren’t stuck for a year.

If you are looking at switching your Medicare Advantage plan during the Open Enrollment Period, you don’t have to be worried about buyer’s remorse.

If you find you made the wrong choice, you can drop your Medicare Advantage plan from January 1st to March 31st the following year and go back to Original Medicare. To learn more, visit the Medicare website.

Tip #7: Medicare.gov’s Plan Finder makes it easy to compare plans.

Medicare.gov has made their Plan Finder more user-friendly than ever. It’s easy enough for someone at any level of technology ability to easily navigate the system.

You’ll add your information, and it will show you all the plans available in your area. It’s never been easier to make an informed Medicare decision.

Learn More: How Do I Find the Best Medicare Part D Drug Plan?

Tip #8: Contact a Medicare Allies agent to help you make the right choice for you.

You can rely on Medicare Allies to guide you through Medicare Open Enrollment.

We’ll explain your options and help you find out what’s available in your area for 2022. Give us a shout today. We’re ready to help. Call now at 833-801-7999!

Conclusion

The Annual Enrollment Period is one of the most important times of year for Medicare users.

By following these easy tips, you’ll be able to make the most of this time and find coverage that you’ll be happy with for another year.

Luke Hockaday
By
Luke Hockaday
Luke Hockaday is a Customer Success Rep here at Medicare Allies. Luke has been helping Medicare-eligible clients with their insurance and retirement-planning needs since 2011. Luke is passionate about 3 things, and 3 things only: senior insurance, football, and food!

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