The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) presents Medicare beneficiaries like yourself with the opportunity to change your existing coverage choice each year from October 15 – December 7. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the available options for Medicare Advantage plans (formally referred to as Medicare Part C plans) and Part D prescription drug plans, as well as the time needed to research plans and find one that optimally suits your needs. Let’s explore some of the important factors to keep in mind when evaluating Medicare Advantage and Part D plan options during the Annual Enrollment Period.
Set a Budget and Look for Medicare Plans That Meet It
It’s important to note that changes in your health, as well as plan costs, can impact your financial well-being. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your Medicare coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period to determine if there are options that better fit your medical and financial needs. Establishing a budget can assist in determining if your current plan will work for you financially or if there’s a better option. Set your budget using known medical expenses like prescription drug costs, annual checkups, flu shots, medical supplies and other care. Determining the costs of your known medical expenses can assist in seeing how they will impact things like deductibles, copayments and coinsurance. All these costs will contribute to your total annual medical expenses. Never make the mistake of only looking at premium costs of the various plans since there are other important cost considerations that should influence selecting a plan.
If you experience difficulty evaluating plan costs or need more information about the plans you’re considering, you may want to consult with a licensed Medicare insurance agent in your area. This service is provided to you and all Medicare beneficiaries for free as Medicare insurance agents are compensated by insurance companies, not by you.
Look at Medicare Plan Quality Ratings to Learn More About a Plan Before Committing to It
Another important factor in determining plan choice is reviewing the annual Star Ratings published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for all Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription drug plans. These ratings are determined based on the experiences of beneficiaries themselves in order to help you make an informed decision about the quality of the health and drug services you are considering. Even so, far too many beneficiaries overlook this valuable free resource. To understand more about the Star Rating system and how it evaluates plan performance, click here to read our blog post on the subject. If you have trouble navigating the data provided by CMS and determining which plans available in your area meet your criteria, a Medicare insurance broker near you can provide more information and the resources you need.
As a current Medicare beneficiary, you’re likely already aware of the standard considerations that guide coverage choice such as plan costs and benefits. When it comes to Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription drugs plans, it’s paramount to factor plan network and formulary into your evaluation of added benefits and plan costs. Now, after using your existing knowledge of plan considerations to narrow down your options during AEP, you can rely on factors like budgeting and Star Ratings to help finalize your decision for the upcoming year.
At Medicare Portal, we’re here to help you every step of the way as you evaluate and contemplate changes to your Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. The Annual Enrollment period ends on December 7th of every year, so whether you’re just starting the process of evaluating potential options in your area or need more information on your top choices of plans, our licensed Medicare insurance brokers are here to help support you. Contact us to begin a one-on-one consultation with a member of our team today!