As per the latest government Medicare updates for 2019, Medicare beneficiaries have an Open Enrollment period each year from October 15 to December 7th. Meanwhile, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries can change, switch or drop their plans from January 1st through March 31st starting 2019. The decision to change health insurance plans can be based on a number of reasons such as:
- Dissatisfaction with the current insurance carrier
- Changes in health needs
- Changes in the financial situation
- Moving to a different area
- Wider coverage options
Whatever your reason for changing or switching your Medicare plans, here are a few simple steps that you should follow.
Step One – Review
The first step when deciding to switch your Medicare Advantage plan is to review your current plan before the enrollment period begins. You need to have a proper understanding of your current benefits, costs, and how much you use your plan. Answer questions such as;
- What is the current cost of coverage that you are paying? This includes your premiums and deductibles.
- Are you paying more for supplement plans or Part D drug coverage costs?
- Did you pay any added medical costs out of your own pocket in the previous year?
- Has your health situation changed?
- Will you need any extra coverage in the coming year?
- Are you expecting a major medical procedure in the future, such as knee surgery that you don’t want to end up paying for yourself?
Before making any big decisions, you need to answer all these questions. You also need to evaluate your financial situation and decide how much you can spare for health insurance.
Step Two – Understanding the Options
Medicare is not just a single plan that’s perfect for everyone. It has components that you need can consider and choose to add during the next enrollment period. The standard Medicare insurance plan has the following options:
Medicare Supplement Insurance – Also known as the Medigap coverage, the Medicare Supplement Insurance is designed for the beneficiaries of the Original Medicare plan. This is additional insurance that covers the expenses Medicare doesn’t pay for and you usually end up having to pay for them yourself.
In most cases, the Original Medicare Plan pays for only 80% of the cost. Medigap covers the rest of the 20% and in some cases, also pays for additional benefits such as fitness programs, personal trainers, medical equipment, and more.
Prescription Drug Coverage – Known as Part D of the Medicare Plan components, it offers coverage for prescription drugs through private insurers. Insurers have their own list of drugs that they offer coverage for so you need to make sure the drugs you are taking are part of your carriers ‘formulary’ (Drug List).
Medicare Advantage Plans – Also called Medicare Part C. This combines coverage for hospital stays and doctor visits through private insurers. Medicare Advantage also covers prescriptions so you don’t have to add Part D to your plan.
To get a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must sign up for Medicare Part A and B and pay a standard Part B premium, along with a possible additional premium charged by the insurance carrier. Some Advantage plans include additional benefits such as dental, hearing, and vision services along with fitness program memberships.
Step Three – Consult The Experts!
Changing your Medicare Advantage plan can be quite confusing and stressful. However, you have the option of online and in-person guidance to help you understand the options currently available.
There are state-sponsored Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) that provide free assistance to Medicare participants and their caregivers in every state. You can find different tools on the internet to compare various Medicare plans and find the right one for your health needs.
The best option is to consult licensed Medicare advisor in New Jersey to help you decide the right coverage option.
Seniors for Medicare is one such healthcare insurance agency for seniors in New York and New Jersey. We have a team of expert health insurance professionals that can provide accurate information in the easiest way possible for you to understand. We also have an impressive list of registered insurance carriers and can assist you with switching your Medicare Advantage and Supplement plans.
Begin your Medicare journey by booking an appointment with our consultants today!
Call us at 800-276-1753 to learn more.