Couple reviewing medicare plans

5 Mistakes to Avoid during Medicare Annual Enrollment

Medicare may seem complicated, but we are here to help. We can make sure that you are getting all the benefits available to you. There is no obligation to enroll and you can review your options and answer the questions you may have. It can seem a little overwhelming but we have put together this guide to help you avoid the 5 most common mistakes that people make during Medicare AEP.

The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare runs from October 15th to December 7th every year. Often referred to as just AEP, this is the time when all Medicare recipients have the opportunity to reevaluate their current plan and make changes. Since plans change every year  you may be able to get more affordable coverage, reduce out of pocket costs for prescription drugs, or get more coverage for a similar price. During this period it is always a good idea to review your coverage and make sure you have the benefits you need with the right pricing.

#1 Not reviewing your Medicare Annual Notice of Change

Don’t make the mistake of just renewing your plan without checking it over every year. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, you will receive a notice from your plan called the Annual Notice of Change (also called ANOC). This notice comes in September each year, listing any changes to cost, coverage, or the service area which will go into effect in January. Taking the time to read and review this notice since it will give you an idea of what kind of changes you may need when reconsidering you Medicare Plan.

#2 Not evaluating your Medicare Plan because you want to keep your same doctors

Some Medicare plans work exclusively with local networks, which means that the only doctors covered must be in that network. Unfortunately Medicare networks can and do change frequently. If keeping your doctors is important to you, it’s important to make sure the plan you choose includes those doctors and you may need to revisit your plan each year to make sure.

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#3 Choosing a Plan just based on the premium

Some Medicare Advantage plans have a monthly premium as low as $0. While that price is right, make sure that it is associated with a plan that has the coverage you want as well. The most common mistake is ignoring all the Medicare costs because of that tempting premium. Most plans have a deductible before the plan starts to pay for medications or services. Both copayments and coinsurance also vary by plan and are typically higher on the $0 monthly premium plans. It pays to consider all the factors as you could end up paying more in out-of-pocket costs on a lower month premium plan than you would with a plan that has a higher monthly premium.

#4 Not Maximizing Your Plans Value

Making sure that you are getting the most out of your plan makes sense, especially if you are on a fixed income. There are many options that may help you pay for key benefits that can help you stay healthy and save money. Original Medicare is made up of Part A (Hospital insurance) and Part B (Medical insurance). When you consider other plans such as Medicare Advantage or Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plans you may be able to cover additional costs such as dental, vision, prescription drugs, and more. Access to additional benefits may vary by plan so it pays to make sure you understand all the options available to you.

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#5 Not shopping around for a new Medicare plan

The price, benefits, and more associated with Medicare plans can change every year. You also may have changes in your lifestyle or health that have taken place over the last year. All of that combines to make it likely that your coverage needs have changed as well. 

There is no cost or obligation to getting a quote or speaking with a licensed insurance agent to review your Medicare options. You may find a plan that is less expensive and still meets your coverage needs. Or you may find that it is worth it to pay for a more robust plan due to the changes in your life. In either case it makes good sense to check out the new options available to find the coverage that fits you.

It definitely pays to review your plan each year to make sure you are getting the best value. Even if you are happy with your existing plan, there may be opportunities to save money or get additional benefits at the same price. The easiest way to do this is to speak with a licensed isnruance agent. They can walk you through all the coverage options and help you navigate multiple quotes to find the plan that fits your needs and budget. There is no obligation to buy and their advice is free so it’s definitely worth taking the time.