You can’t always make changes to your Medicare coverage. That’s why the Annual Enrollment Period is so important! Let’s go over what the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is, why you might need to make changes to your coverage, and how you can prepare for this important period.
What is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, also known as the Annual Election Period or Fall Open Enrollment, is a period of time where you can change your coverage. The period is from October 15 to December 7, and any changes will take effect on January 1, 2022. There are many reasons to change plans. Some of them include:
- Your monthly premium is going up
- You don’t like the plan changes for the next year
- One of your doctors or providers won’t be in the network
- Your plan is dropping one of your necessary medications
Preparing for the enrollment period is important so you don’t get stuck in a plan that doesn’t suit your needs. Here are some important steps to help you prepare.
What You Can Do to Prepare
Talk to Your Doctor’s Office about Your Plan
A new year can bring changes to your Medicare plan’s network of doctors. It’s important to check if your current providers will be in your plan’s network for the next year. It’s as simple as asking: “Are you still going to be taking Original Medicare next year?” If you don’t check, you may be in for a more expensive 2022. If they change networks, you’ll have to find a different plan or provider or pay a higher out-of-pocket cost to stay with the same doctor.
Check Your Prescription Plan
Providers aren’t the only thing that can change when it comes to the Annual Enrollment Period. It can bring changes to the pricing tiers your medications are in or the copays required for various medications as well. Make sure your prescription plan will cover your current medications in 2022 and check how much you’ll pay for them.
If you’re using the Annual Enrollment Period to enroll in Part D for the first time, know that you may be subject to a late penalty. After turning 65, you’ll pay a late penalty if you wait to enroll in Part D if you don’t have any other creditable health insurance or drug coverage.
Look Out for the Annual Notice of Change
Your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) will arrive in the mail by September 30. This document explains the changes that your Medicare plan has made. Some changes you can see are increases or decreases in your monthly premiums, charges (deductibles, copays, etc.), and service area. This document is pretty big, but don’t let the size of the packet scare you. The top letter in the packet lists a side-by-side comparison of this year’s benefits to next year’s benefits. Take a look at that list and if you don’t see anything major, then you might not need to do anything. If you see some major changes or would like to clarify what’s in your ANOC, contact an agent to assist you. Don’t delay in reviewing your ANOC – the sooner you look at it, the sooner you can detect issues with your plan and make changes!
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is an important, if not a stressful time. If you need help evaluating your options, our agents at Jeffery Insurance are here for you. We are based in Scottsdale but are happy to assist you no matter where you are in Arizona. We are Arizona’s health care resource!