Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) BEGINS – What should I do?

It’s that time of the year again where all who have Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans (MAPD) or Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) have the option to review or change their plans for the 2018 plan year. Additionally anyone that has a Medicare Supplement or MediGap policy can review their options and if it makes sense enroll into an MAPD plan and ditch their Supplement (Note that enrolling into a MAPD plan won’t automatically disenroll you from your Supplement plan but it will disenroll you from your PDP plans).

Officially the AEP opens up on October 15th and it lasts until December 7th. During this time you’ll want to make sure that you review the Annual Notice of Change that your current plan sent you explaining what will change for 2018. They are required to send this every year and they normally arrive by the end of September.

So what should I do?

  1. Review the ANOC that you received from your plan, normally it’s a big book containing the policy, member rights, summary of benefits etc.
  2. Carefully compare the changes from the current year to the next. Note that usually the carrier doesn’t list all the changes in the first few pages, they may only list a few. That means that if you really want to know what’s changing you have to dig deeper, so go get your shovel, I’ll wait.
  3. Things you should compare:

    1. Plan Premium (Not to be confused with your Part B Medicare premium, although that can also change annually, there wasn’t an increase for 2018, phew!) The plan may have added a premium or changed it, so take that into consideration. Note that if you get Medicaid and Extra Help the premium could be lower for you.
    2. Check the co-pays for Medical services (Doctors, Hospital, Outpatient Hospital, MRI’s CAT Scans, X-Rays etc).
    3. Check your Prescription co-pays and deductible 
    4. Check that your Medications are still in the formulary¬†(list of drugs the plan covers) and see if they changed tiers. This could change substantially so it’s VERY important.
    5. Review the pharmacy network. Some plans may have Preferred and Standard pharmacy networks, preferred pharmacies will save you money. Example Only: If in 2017 Walgreens was one of the preferred pharmacies make sure that the following year that’s still the case, they could change and you may have to switch to CVS for preferred pricing. Also don’t forget to see if any Mail Order options are available because some plans offer certain drugs tiers at lower or even $0 cost if you get them via Mail Order with a 90 supply.
    6. Review the doctor and hospital Network. Yes you’ll want to make sure that your doctors are still in the provider directory.

Need help reviewing your plan?

Don’t be afraid to consult a professional, they can be a wealth of knowledge and information. Do you know what’s the best part? It doesn’t cost you a dime, yes independent agents are only compensated by the carriers they represent. So if you have an agent make sure that you consult them, if you don’t think they are knowledgeable enough, don’t worry, there are plenty to choose from.

Can Ask Gabe, Inc. help me?

Of course that’s our goal and we will be happy to! We help our clients review their Medicare options each year so they know they are getting the plan the fits their needs. Call or email us and we will schedule a time to talk.

We make it easy for you so you can focus on the things you enjoy most. What we normally do is create a client profile. We save a list of your medications in Medicare.gov website (no worries your personal information won’t be tied to it) and every year we will review it with you to see if there are any changes. Using the medication list we match it up with the plans that are available in your area to see which option gives you the best bang for your buck. Additionally we review all the above “Things you should compare”.

We don’t stop there, we even evaluate if you qualify for any programs that could help you save money on prescriptions and medical services. There are substantial savings available for those that qualify.

Give us a call and have piece of mind that you have the right 
coverage for 2018!

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