Medicare open enrollment begins 10/15/2018
What is the annual Open Enrollment Period (OEP)??
It is the time of year that every person over the age of 65 receives lots of extra mail and hears many confusing radio and TV commercials. Such an exciting time of year! Oh, but there is an actual purpose to this event people refer to as Medicare season. The Open Enrollment Period runs from October 15th through December 7th.
What Changes Can You Make During the 2019 Medicare Open Enrollment?
- Do nothing and your current Medicare coverage will automatically renew in 201
- Enroll in, leave or change your Medicare Part D drug plan
- Switch from Traditional Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Traditional Medicare
- Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another
Good Reasons to Change Your Plan
You may be wondering: what would be a good reason to change your Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan in 2019? Here are some of the most common reasons that plans change during Medicare Open Enrollment:
Your plan is dropping one of your important medications next year. Your Annual Notice of Change letter will specifically list any changes to its drug formulary for next year. The plan must disclose if they are dropping any medications. They must also tell you if a medication is moving to a more expensive tier for next year. If you take a brand name medication now that won’t be covered the next year, you may want to change during the OEP to another drug plan that will.
Your Medicare Advantage plan is dropping your doctor from its network. Unlike Medigap plans, Medicare Advantage plans have a network of doctors. If one of your doctors is leaving the plan’s network, you can use the Medicare OEP to switch to another plan that your doctor still participates in.
Your plan has a drastic change in premium. Please note that the key word here is “drastic.” Inflation happens to medical insurance plans just like it does to auto insurance plans. If your auto insurance goes up $3/month next year, would you go to the hassle of changing it? Probably not. Likewise, if the only thing changing on your drug plan is a small increase in premium, you probably won’t have to switch. But if your drug plan goes up $20/month, you might look to see if any other plan is cost effective.
Here is a handy checklist of things to think about during this OEP:
|During open enrollment we have extended our hours to ensure we help each customer. If you want to set up a time to meet, we are available for standard business hours of 8:30am to 5:00 pm, evening and Saturday times are available by appointment only.
- Do you have a Medicare Advantage Plan?
- Are you aware of the changes for 2019?
- Do you want to switch plans or carriers?
- Do you need to re-enroll for 2019?
- Are you happy with your prescription drug coverage?
- Do you need extra coverage?
Have you heard from your Medicare insurance agent this year? Do you have a Medicare insurance agent?
- You might be wondering why is have a Medicare insurance agent important; it is important, so you always have an advocate working on your side. Medicare insurance agents go through training each year to be able to compare many different products, so they can help advise their clients accurately about changes and new benefit offerings.
- You might think it is completely normal to never hear from your agent since they originally signed you up; Sadly, that is how most agents operate. We at Alliance Financial & Insurance are not like most agents. We communicate with our clients throughout the year and send out letters announcing open enrollment changes and offer to sit down together to walk through the changes together.
- You might say to yourself, I can call my insurance company customer service if I have a problem; Insurance agents have different lines of communicates that we can utilize to help get problems resolved for our clients. By being the go to for problems throughout the year, means that we stay in contact with our clients and provide the level of customer service that each Medicare member deserves.
- Are you worried it will cost you more money to have any insurance agent? There is NO charge to utilize the services of an agent. If you are not happy with your current agent, it costs you nothing to switch agents. The process is very simply to make a change. If you are not happy or don’t have an agent, give us a call….
If you need help and want to talk to our Medicare Specialist, please give Chris a call 616-897-1515 Ext. 119.
WE ARE ALWAYS HERE TO HELP!