Founders Life and Health Blog
Welcome to Medicare Open Enrollment season!
My name is Jo Hutchison. I am an independent health and Medicare advisor with Founders Life and Health here in beautiful St. Louis, Missouri. Today, we are going to be doing a quick summary of Medicare open enrollment, what is it, how to use it. Everything you need to know to make sure that you have the best possible plan in place for next year.
Medicare Open Enrollment
Let's start off with what Medicare open enrollment actually is.
Open enrollment is the time period between October 15th and December 7th every year when you can make changes to your Medicare Part C or Part D plans. There are three main things that can be done during the Medicare open enrollment period.
Who can make changes during the Medicare open enrollment period?
Anyone that is currently enrolled in Medicare can make changes. It does depend on how you are currently enrolled and what choices you would have to make. If you are currently on original Medicare and you've been thinking that you might want to enroll in an advantage plan, now is the time to do that. If you want to add a Part D prescription drug plan onto your original Medicare, now would be the time to do that. Additionally, if you are currently on original Medicare and you have a supplement or a Medigap plan in place and you've been thinking that you want to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan, now would be the time to do that. And of course, if you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, but you want to look at options for a different Medicare Advantage plan, now is the time to make those changes as well.
How do we make changes during the open enrollment period?
Check your mailbox! Your annual notice of change should be arriving in September or October. You will receive in the mail from your carrier what's called an annual notice of change or an ANOC. Another way that you know that that's coming or it has already shown up, is you will start seeing about 7 million Medicare open enrollment commercials on TV. That's your clue to start looking in the mailbox that your annual notice of change is headed your way.
Is your current plan still a good fit?
Once you get that annual notice of change, take a look at it, read through, figure out what on your current plan is changing that might not work for you anymore. After you've looked at your annual notice of change, you're going to want to start thinking about your prescriptions. Have your prescriptions in the last year changed? The Advantage plans and the Part D prescription drug plans, each carrier and each plan has different ways that they will cover those prescriptions. If your prescriptions have changed a whole lot in the last year, it's probably a good idea to take a look and make sure through your annual notice of change if the plan that you're on is still the right fit for those prescriptions. If it's not, then it's a good idea to start figuring out your options for the following year.
What's the next step?
Your next step is to get in touch with your Medicare advisor. You may already have a Medicare advisor that you work with to enroll in the plan when you first became eligible for Medicare. You may have somebody in your area that is local that you know of, reach out to those people. You can always reach out to us as well here at Founders Life and Health. Our services are free of charge to you. We are always paid by the carrier, not by our clients. So we can give you an impartial view on what's going to work best for you, which different plans there are out there, and how those will fit together to make sure you have the best coverage for the year coming up.
Often, you don't need to make a change to your plan. If your prescription drugs are still working on your plan, if everything about your plan is still working for you and you've taken a look at that annual notice of change and there are no real issues, there's no reason to make a change to the plan. You don't have to just because the opportunity is there for you. But if the opportunity is there and you do find something that might work better for you, this is the time to do it.
If you ever have any other questions about your Medicare plan that you're currently enrolled in or if you're new to Medicare, please feel free to reach out to us at Founders anytime. We're always happy to help. Check out our videos on YouTube or reach out anytime with questions. We're here to help!
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