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3 Things You Need to Know About Your Annual Notice of Change Before the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

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    If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan, you might be wondering why you need to be concerned about the next Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which happens every year between October 15 and December 7. One of the biggest reasons has to do with your Annual Notice of Change.

    You should expect to get your Annual Notice of Change from your current healthcare provider by September 30. Here are three things to take a close look at before deciding if your current plan is still the right fit or if you need to evaluate alternatives during the next Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.

  1. Changes to your benefits
  2. A lot can happen in a year that impacts your health situation and healthcare needs. Benefits that you may not have needed when you signed up for your plan last year may be more important than ever. Be sure to:

    • Check that all the care and services you need are still covered by your current plan.
    • Review your list of physicians to be sure they’re all still in the plan’s network.
    • Confirm all your prescription drugs are still covered, since plans can change their formulary year-to-year by adding or dropping certain prescription drugs.
  3. Changes in your plan’s service area or contract
  4. Plans may withdraw from certain service areas, so make sure your plan is still available in your location. Also, be aware that plans may decide not to renew their contract with Medicare altogether. If either of these are the case, you can quickly find plans that are available in your area, easily compare them side by side, and enroll in one that’s the right fit on our Medicare Online Enrollment Portal.

  5. Changes to your costs
  6. It’s startling how fast premiums, deductibles and copays can add up, especially if your plan increases any of these from year-to-year. Review your costs for all care and services to see if they’re planning to go up. Pay particular attention to your prescription drugs to see if your plan has switched any to a different tier and how that impacts your out-of-pocket cost. Even if your plan costs won’t see a major hike, it still might be worth seeing what other Medicare Advantage Plans are available to you during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Some offer $0 premiums, copays, and deductibles. Just be aware you’ll still be required to pay your Medicare Part B premium. If your financial situation has changed significantly, you may be eligible for Extra Help with your prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Changes

Review your Annual Notice of Change in detail before the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period begins to clearly understand all changes to your current plan and how they’ll impact your health and your wallet. If you decide to make a change during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, your new plan will take effect January 1 of the upcoming year.

We’re Here for You

If you have questions about your Annual Notice of Change or the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, or want help finding and evaluating plans in your area, contact our Medicate Advocates at 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. You can also find, compare, and enroll in a plan using our convenient Medicare Online Enrollment Portal.