October 15 will arrive more quickly than you might think. That’s the date Medicare opens up their Annual Election Period, during which you can change between one plan to another or add additional coverage. Since the AEP only lasts from October 15 to December 7, you won’t have a lot of time to make a decision about your coverage. That’s why we urge all of our clients to think about these issues now. Review your current coverage and compare plans to see if there might be a better deal for you.
With time running short, you might rush into a decision that isn’t just right for you. So, in addition to researching the Medicare plans available to you, we urge you to watch out for these mistakes.
Don’t base your decision solely on premiums. It’s tempting to go with the lowest price. But because Medicare Advantage plans can vary, with different deductibles and even offering different types of coverage, it would be wise to consider whether paying just a bit more per month would actually be the better deal in the long run.
Don’t overlook plan benefits. Not all plans are created equally. Some offer benefits that might or might not appeal to you specifically. Check the coverage details carefully, to see if your plan offers coverage for services you need and value, and whether additional benefits are offered (like a fitness membership, for example). Another plan might be a better fit for your health needs and personal priorities.
Don’t overlook Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap). This policy can cover your out of pocket expenses for Medicare Parts A and B plans, like co-pays and deductibles. Medigap can be a good idea for those who anticipate frequent medical care. If you’re accepted now, your Medigap provider can’t charge you more when you develop a serious or expensive health condition.
Don’t forget about prescription (Part D) coverage. Premiums for this type of coverage are calculated based on how long you were eligible, but did not enroll. In other words, if you delay enrolling in Part D, your premiums will be higher when you decide to enroll later. Consider carefully whether you anticipate the need for drug coverage in the future.
Don’t miss the deadline. If you don’t make a decision by December 7, you will be automatically re-enrolled in your current plan. That means you will miss the opportunity to identify coverage that might actually be a better fit for you, and save you money in 2019. Give us a call if you need help, and we will be happy to assist you in identifying your needs and comparing different Medicare plans.