Medicare Annual Election Period 2018

With only two weeks to go, Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP) will be here before you know it. VelaPoint Insurance is here to help you prepare for any upcoming changes that you may need to make to your current Medicare coverage within the short AEP time window of October 15-December 7, 2018.

Here are five things you can do to prepare for Medicare’s Annual Election Period this year.

1. Understand your current coverage

Take the time to review the medical bills that you have acquired throughout the year. It is important to understand all of your medical expenses, including deductibles, copayments, premiums and coinsurance. The following questions will help you as you analyze the costs:

  • Have your living arrangements changed?
  • Have you been diagnosed with a chronic disease that could alter your coverage needs?
  • Do your medical costs fit into your current budget?
  • Are you undergoing any unexpected health changes that require more frequent doctor visits or new prescription drugs?
  • Have you experienced a health crisis that left you in financial distress?

Analyze your current health coverage to decide how well it has met your personal needs over the past year to help you make the right decision regarding your health care plan moving forward.

2. Review your Medicare plan’s Annual Notice of Change

Medicare plans are required to send an Annual Notice of change each September to their customers. The ANOC includes updates to costs, services or coverage to take effect the following January. Make sure to read through your ANOC to decide if your needs will be met for the 2019 year. If any cost or benefit changes do not fit your current needs, you will have the opportunity to update your current Medicare plan during Annual Election Period.

3. Compare and contrast multiple plans

You can make changes to your current Medicare coverage during Annual Enrollment Period; learn more about the available options by comparing multiple plans.

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan, with or without prescription coverage, to a plan that better suits your needs, with or without prescription coverage.
  • Change your plan from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare.
  • Upgrade your Original Medicare plan to Medicare Advantage
  • Switch from one stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan to another one.

There are free online tools available to help you compare benefits and costs to find the right Medicare plan for you. Many Medicare Advantage plans offer additional benefits at little to no cost while providing the same Medicare Part and Part B coverage as Original Medicare. Some Medicare Advantage Plans include dental and vision coverage, prescription drug benefits, fitness benefits and hearing exams; costs vary among available plans in your location.

Make sure to carefully understand plan formularies when switching from a Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage to a new plan. Formularies include a plan’s list of covered prescriptions drugs. If you currently rely on certain medications, make sure to read the formulary of the plan that you are considering to find out if your prescriptions will be covered. Prescription costs vary for each plan based on the tier of the drug, including generic, name-brand, or mail order prescriptions.

4. Speak to an agent to ask questions

If you have questions regarding your Medicare plan, Annual Enrollment Period is the perfect time to get the answers that you need from a licensed agent. After changes have been made during Annual Enrollment Period, it is likely that you will have to stick to that plan for the upcoming year. Make sure to ask any questions that you have before choosing a plan that may not be your best fit.

5. Enroll in Medicare

Remember that December 7 is the last day that you can make changes to your Medicare coverage for 2019. Now is the time to do your research and make the best-informed decision regarding your Medicare health coverage during Annual Enrollment Period.

A licensed agent can help guide you through the enrollment process from start to finish. Just call 855-652-3171 to speak with a helpful, educated agent to answer all of your questions and direct you toward the most beneficial Medicare plan to meet your personal preferences.