By Theresa Struckmeyer,
Senior Insurance Specialist
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (AEP) is just around the corner. It begins on Thursday October 15th and goes until Monday December 7th 2015. During this time you have the ability to review, change, or add a new health plan or prescription drug plan. If you receive Medicare this is an important time of the year for you. Even if you are happy where you are at, it’s a good time to review your current coverage to ensure you are still in the best plan to fit your needs for 2016.
If you have a Medicare Part C plan, also known as Medicare Advantage, this is the time to review your plan. Each year benefits can change and if you do not review your plan and later find out that your plan has indeed changed, you may be left with limited options. The reason for this is most Medicare recipients can only change their plan during annual enrollment.
There are exceptions to this rule if you qualify for a special election period. You may qualify for a special election period if you receive Low Income Subsidy to help pay for your medications, You receive Medi-cal, or if you have a special condition such as Diabetes or Heart Disease and you are changing to a special needs plan that is designed for your condition. There are other special election periods as well such as if your Low Income Subsidy or Medi-cal has recently been discontinued or if you have moved or are going to move into a different area where your plan may not be available or there may be a better plan to fit your needs.
If you have original Medicare and a Prescription Drug plan, now is also the time to review that plan. Your plan’s drug formulary may have changed or your own personal needs may have changed as well. Make sure to review all your current medications to ensure they are still covered and also to compare the coverage and out of pocket cost to other available prescription plans in the area. This is also a good time to visit or revisit considering a Medicare Advantage Plan. Perhaps a Medicare Advantage plan may make more sense for you now or maybe there is a new plan that may work that wasn’t available previously. You will never know if you do not do your research.
If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, please note, although it is a good idea to check your plan every year to make sure you still have the best plan for you and are enjoying the best price for that plan, it is not necessary to switch Medicare Supplement plans during open enrollment. You can change your Supplement plan year round. If you have a serious illness, however, the best time to switch your Medicare Supplement plan is around your birthday as California has a rule that allows Medicare Supplement clients to switch their plan around their birthday without having to have their health approved by the plan. If you are curious about a change to a Medicare Advantage plan from a supplement plan, this is the time to make that decision . Medicare Part C has a lot of great features but also some draw backs that you are not used to coming from a Medicare Supplement so please make sure to weight the pros and cons carefully.
If you happen to miss Annual enrollment or you are not happy with the new plan you selected during annual enrollment, there is always Annual Disenrollment between January 1st-February 15th 2016. This is a little different than enrollment period in that you cannot move from one Medicare Part C plan to another Part C plan. During this time all you can do is drop your health plan and select a prescription drug plan to replace your health plan’s drug coverage. You will also have the ability to add a supplement plan to help pick up the costs original Medicare does not cover. You may have other options but only if you qualify for a special enrollment.
The best way to find the right plan for yourself is getting the help of a trusted insurance agent. If you don’t have a Senior Insurance Agent you trust, we are always a phone call 1-855-731-8888, an email, or a live chat away. Its not too early to start shopping for your perfect agent. We’ve been helping Seniors with their healthcare needs since 1995 and we would love to help you with any questions you may have! Or if you are shy and just want to see what’s out there, click here for an instant quote.
MP Insurance Solutions is a Senior Health Care Insurance Brokerage. We specialize in Medicare Supplement/ Medigap plans, Medicare Advantage/Medicare Part C, Prescription Drug Plans/Medicare Part D, Senior Term Life Insurance, Final Expense Insurance, Guaranteed Income Annuities, and Dental and Vision plans. We specialize in helping seniors in Southern California including Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Orange County California.