Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) – It’s just around the corner

Today all the Medicare Advantage and Prescription companies have released their 2020 plan benefits. For most the easiest way to review the changes to their current plan will be via their Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letter. This letter was mailed out to all current members and should have arrived by 9/30/19. If you don’t have this letter or have misplaced it, you may contact your carrier to resend it or for many you will be able to access it electronically as many Insurers make them available in their websites.

The ANOC letter contains the plan benefit details for the following year. It’s an easy way of comparing your current plan with the changes coming up for 2020. Consult your agent to make sure that you understand the changes.

It’s important to do a medication cost comparison as the ANOC letters don’t give you a year by year comparison on what you can expect to pay. But it’s possible to compare your medication costs. Contact your agent to help you. There are drug price comparison tools on most Insurer websites, in addition Medicare.gov has their own. Note that it’s important that you provide the correct medication name (brand vs generic), how many you take a day, how often they are refilled (e.g., 30, 60, 90 a month, or every 3 months) and what pharmacy you go to refill them. All these details can change the cost projections significantly. 

For some Medicare beneficiaries their Insurer letters will notify them that their current plan will no longer be available for the following year. This is no cause for alarm, as there is plenty of time to review the options available. Some carriers will offer an alternative plan if they remove your plan from the market, the alternative option may come in a separate letter. But no matter what plan is selected, switching will require action on the part of the beneficiary. Talk to your agent to make sure that you select the plan that meets your needs.

Starting October 15th plan changes for AEP could be submitted to the Insurers, those changes will be effective January 1st 2020. For most the last day to submit applications for plan changes is December 7th.

Depending on your current needs other benefits may be more important. Think about what you may need for the following year. Perhaps you have a treatment or procedure coming up and you want to know what out of pocket costs you can expect.

Things you should compare:
  1. Premium
  2. Maximum out of Pocket
  3. Co-Pays
  4. Co-Insurance
  5. Network – HMO vs PPO
  6. Referrals for HMO’s – do I need a referral to see a specialist?
  7. Dental, Vision, Fitness, Hearing
  8. Over the Counter (OTC)
  9. Prescriptions – Are my medications still covered and what are the estimated cost projections?
  10. Star Ratings

If you like your current plan and you want to renew it with the changes you don’t have to take any action, the plan renews automatically.

Making a plan selection is very important and personal so let’s take our time to review the options, let’s ask questions and find the plan the fits your needs.

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