Three things you need to know about Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

Three Things you should know!

  1. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period runs from October 15, 2017 to December 7, 2017. This happens every year at this time. The effective date will be January 1, 2018.
  2. This your opportunity to change plans if you so desire. Many plans are offering extra benefits which maybe something you might be interested.
  3. If you are currently on a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Part D plan you should have received a document from your insurance carrier called the Annual Notice of Change. In this document it will outline all the changes in the plan.  You will want to pay close attention to this as it will tell you if your prescription is still on the formulary or if the co-pays will be increasing or in some cases the co-pays have decreased.

Annual Enrollment Period is different that Initial Enrollment Period. The initial Enrollment Period takes place three months before your birthday, the month of your birthday, and three months after your birthday.  The Annual Enrollment Period is for those who already have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Part D Plan and want to make changes.

What changes are happening this year?

Some plans will be increasing their premiums, removing prescriptions from their formulary, removal of additional benefits and other changes.  It is highly recommended that you evaluate this year’s decision and review the following:

  • Providers – Review the network directory, physician changes, new physicians, etc.
  • Rx Formulary – Access your plan’s formulary list to see if any medications have changed tiers. This can be a costly oversight and is strongly advised as part of the Annual Enrollment process.
  • Travel – Ensure your plan meets your needs if you have travel plans.
  • Ancillary coverage – review and discuss any needs for coverage for dental, accident, critical illness, Cancer, etc. In theevent of major illness or accidents, many expenses are incurred for travel, best of care, specialty medications, etc.  We can discuss these if there are concerns.

Changes in your plan’s benefits and premiums are all potential reasons to consider switching to a different plan if these changes are not beneficial to you.  However, these plans are not required to notify you when providers change.  So your doctor may not take the plan next year, and you won’t know about it until you try to go see your doctor.  By that time, it will be too late to change.

If you are enrolled in Original Medicare, you can select a Medicare Advantage plan or revert back to Original Medicare if you already have Medicare Advantage. During Open Enrollment, the choice is yours. You can add prescription drug coverage, if you didn’t have this benefit, or change from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Medigap (also called Medicare Supplement) policy.  There are many options to change your coverage, so an annual review is important.


Butler County Business Spotlight: Choice Benefits Group

You may review your Medicare coverage to find that you’ve been paying for benefits you didn’t need or use over the last year.  There may be other policies that offer a lower premium and do not include unneeded services.  The licensed insurance professionals at Choice Benefits Group are assisting medicare beneficiaries identify and enroll in plans in Butler County. You can contact them directly with their information below or you can stop into the Kroger at 8238 Princeton Glendale Rd, West Chester Township, OH 45069. Monday through Thursday 9am to 1 pm.

Maureen Fowler, Licensed Insurance Agent