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Medicare Annual Enrollment Period: Tips for Caregivers

As a caregiver, you have a lot on your plate. While understanding more about the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period and Medicare options can’t relieve all that stress, it may make life a little easier for both you and the person you’re supporting. Read on for a few helpful tips.

Tip #1: Understand why the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is important

You want the best care for your client or loved one, and you work hard to provide what they need. Having Medicare coverage that aligns with their medical needs and financial situation helps ensure they can get the medical services they need and ultimately makes it easier for you to care for them. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is their yearly chance to make changes to their Medicare coverage, including enrolling in or dropping a Medicare plan. This enrollment period is often called “open enrollment.” Insurance providers make adjustments to their Medicare Advantage Plans every year, and AEP gives them the opportunity to find and enroll in the plan that’s right for them.

Tip #2: Take the time to compare plans

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is a great time to evaluate the Medicare plans available to your loved one or client. Even if you both like the plan they’re currently enrolled in, it’s worthwhile to review other plans and consider what might be available. There may be cost-savings; did you know that some Medicare Advantage Plans have $0 premiums, deductibles, and copays? A plan may have better rates for a particular medical service that your patient frequently uses.

If your patient is already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, they should receive an Annual Notice of Change Letter in early fall detailing the plan terms for the following year. You can use that to compare with other plans.

Tip #3: Look for benefits that can ease your situation

The benefits offered with Medicare Advantage Plans can change each year, sometimes in big ways. In 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services updated coverage regulations in a way that allowed insurance providers to offer entirely new categories of benefits. Some of those benefits included caregiver support, in-home health services, meal delivery, adult day center membership, and more. Take a look at available benefits and prioritize them based on what is most impactful for your caregiving situation.

Tip #4: Know your enrollment resources

The Medicare Online Enrollment Portal makes it easy to find, compare, and enroll in Medicare Advantage Plans from anywhere, any time.

If you prefer a more personal experience, you can speak directly with a Medicare Advisor by calling 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern, Monday through Friday.