Medicare Annual Enrollment Period 2019
MEDICARE CHANGES COULD MAKE THIS THE MOST CONFUSING 53 DAYS FOR AMERICA’S SENIORS!
10 Tips for Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period – October 15 – December 7
The period between October 15 and December 7 has been known as “Medicare Open Enrollment.” In some places, Medicare now calls Oct 15- Dec 7 the “Annual Enrollment Period” (AEP) … and January 1 – March 31, Open Enrollment.
Here’s one thing we predict: 2019 will be the most confusing enrollment period for millions. AEP is the time when you can make unlimited changes to your prescription drug or your Medicare Advantage coverage. Comparing often starts with the Medicare Plan Finder, the official Medicare website tool that allows you to enter your information, your medications and then displays your local options. The system is admittedly difficult to use but it does have the advantage of saving your information. To help consumers, many insurance agents who focus on Medicare options, help consumers with the Plan Finder.
NEWS: Effective September 2019, Medicare announced plans to roll-out an entirely new tool/system. Access to the current system (and saved data) is planned to cease during AEP. And, because of the changes, agents may not be willing or able to help consumers utilize Medicare’s new tool.
AEP lasts only 53 days. December 7th is the final day to act if you want to make changes to certain coverages. Because of the changes (and confusion) this year’s AEP will be extremely busy for insurance professionals who focus on Medicare options. Waiting until the last minute is just not a good idea. If you want to speak or meet with one – it’s best to start early.
Here are Important 2019 updates and 10 AEP TIPS for consumers.
HIGHLIGHTS: WHAT’S NEW or CHANGED FOR 2020?
Medicare is discontinuing their Medicare Plan Finder used by millions to shop the market for the best (lowest cost) plan option. Currently, they plan to roll out the new system in September 2019.
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans C or F will no longer be available for new Medicare enrollees after 12/31/2019. Plans G and N will be the most popular supplement plans now.
Medicare Prescription Drug plans. The Donut Hole is changing for those with Medicare Part D (drug plan coverage). Those who take multiple and expensive drugs will be impacted.
Medicare is complicated. Use the Association’s free Zip Code directory to find listings of local agents. It’s 100% free and 100% confidential. There’s no sign-in required to access.
Click this link now to access the directory.
EVERYONE ON MEDICARE SHOULD READ THIS BEFORE DECEMBER 7
Before December 7th, do the following: Think back on the year. Did your health change? Were any new medications prescribed? Did the cost of your Medicare plan increase? Now think ahead for 2020. Have you thought about consulting a specialist – or seeking a second opinion? Are you traveling out of your local area more often? Any of these could impact your need for care in 2020. Is your current Medicare plan the best for the coming year(s)?
You can change your car insurance anytime. You can’t always change your Medicare insurance plan.
That’s why you want to act before deadlines impact your ability to change.
AEP TIP #1: If you are happy with your 2019 plan and everything in your life is pretty much the same, you don’t need to do anything. You might want to do a quick check of the TIPS on this page though to see if any would benefit you.
IF YOU HAVE Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan coverage
Review the annual notice of change mailed to you by your plan (typically in September/early October). This details any changes for the coming year. IF you see changes that impact your 2020 cost or benefits – you definitely want to investigate your options.
AEP TIP #2: Review the list of providers (doctors, hospitals, medical facilities) listed on the Provider List sent to you. It never hurts to call to make certain they will continue to take (accept) your plan in 2020.
AEP TIP #3: If your lifestyle changed in 2019 or might change in 2020 (maybe you’ll be splitting time between two homes in different states, or enjoying more overseas travels) understand how your current MA plan deals with medical issues when you are away from your primary home. The coverage that was once suitable may no longer best meet your 2020 lifestyle.
While you are thinking about your health, here’s AEP TIP #3: Use any extra benefits offered by your Advantage plan before the end of the year. They may or may not be offered next year. Extra benefits may include, free gym membership, hearing aids, chiropractic visits, dental care.
AEP TIP #4: If the 2020 cost of your Medicare Advantage plan increased by 15 percent (or more) you have options that may include being eligible for guaranteed issue Medicare Supplement coverage. The rules vary by State, so be sure to speak with a knowledgeable professional as soon as you are notified.
AEP TIP #5: Set up your 2020 annual preventive care checkups. They are one of the greatest (often completely free) benefits of being on Medicare. Most importantly, they can help prevent future serious (and costly) health problems.
IF YOU HAVE Medicare Supplement (Medigap)
If your Medigap plan has experienced a rate (cost) increase, ask your insurance agent to compare plans available in your area to see if you can save money on your premium costs. Make sure you do NOT drop (cancel) your current plan until you have been approved by the new insurance carrier.
Anyone already with Plan C or F is grandfathered. If you receive a notice that your premium for Plan C or F is being increased, you will still be able to shop for a Plan C or F from a different company. Again, make sure you are accepted before dropping any current coverage.
IF YOU HAVE A Medicare Part D Drug Plan
Review the annual notice of change for your Part D drug Plan. See if you can improve your benefits for 2020 or if any of your prescriptions have been moved to a Higher Tier Level (more cost) on the formulary.
AEP TIP #6: Confirm that the medications you take will be covered by your plan in 2020. While you are at it, check with your pharmacy to make certain they will continue to be a Preferred Pharmacy (in 2020) with your current plan. On October 1, call your current prescription carrier, and ask for your 2020 co-pays.
AEP TIP #7: Review the Mail Order Option to see if the plan offers savings with this option. Tier One and Tier Two generics can cost less using mail order.
AEP TIP #8: If you take multiple, costly prescriptions you could be impacted by the Medicare Donut Hole. This is especially true for people with MS, Parkinson’s, diabetes and cancer. Frankly, understanding the Donut Hole can be unbelievably complex and a case where getting a professional’s help can be a time saver and stress reliever.
AEP TIP #9: Look at alternative programs for high cost or non-formulary medications. Sites such as drugstoreunlimited.com, goodrx.com or RxHelpCenters.com , can help you lower your cost of some non formulary medications.
AEP Tip #10: Check Out The ONLY Directory of Local Medicare Insurance Agents In Your Area … 100% Free … 100% Confidential
The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance maintains the nation’s leading directory of independent insurance agents who help consumers compare Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Drug plans.
Use our free Zip Code directory to find agents in your area. You’ll see their info and decide who (if anyone) you want to contact.
Click Here To Access The Directory Now
The following is taken directly from Medicare’s website. Link to Medicare website:
During certain times each year (yearly enrollment periods for Part C & Part D)
Each year, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage for the following year. There are 2 separate enrollment periods each year:
- Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage.
What can I do?
- Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage.
- Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.
- Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.
When? October 15–December 7