If you qualify for Medicare benefits, you’ve probably received or should soon be receiving your” Medicare and You 2021″ handbook as October 15 through December 7 is the Annual Open Enrollment Period. This is the time when you have the opportunity to sign up, keep or make changes to your Medicare and Prescription Drug plan. Here are four basic guidelines on how to prepare for the annual Medicare Enrollment Period, along with some considerations and warnings.
1. LIST ALL YOUR PRESCRIPTIONS
First, make a list of your all your prescriptions, along with their dosages and frequencies taken. Review each insurance plan’s formularies to ensure all your prescriptions are covered. Keep in mind that although plans usually don’t change their prices or name, formularies do tend to constantly change. That’s why you need to review them so that you can maximize your coverage.
2. DECIDE IF YOU'RE SATISFIED WITH YOUR CURRENT PLAN
Review the past year and how your medical needs were or were not covered. Ask if the coverage was enough and if it covered the medical services you both needed and used most frequently. Do you notice any gaps in your plan’s coverage that you would like to have filled in 2021? Also, determine if you’ve spent more in out-of-pocket costs than you had planned to spend and if you used any out-of-network services.
If you’re happy with your current plan and coverage, you probably don’t have to change anything. Just continue paying your premiums, and your coverage will be renewed. However, be aware of any notices you get from your insurance plans during the next couple of weeks, which may include changes in rates and formularies.
3. KNOW YOUR COVERAGE FOR PREVENTIVE SERVICES
Ask your health care provider or doctor about the specific preventive services you need as well as how often you need them. These include medical services, such as annual physicals, mammograms, bone scans, colonoscopies and scans. Consider that sometimes doctors recommend tests that are done more frequently than what’s covered by Medicare. Fortunately, Medicare does cover some types of diagnostic tests for exams showing abnormalities.
4. CHECK THE AVAILABLE PLANS IN YOUR AREA
After evaluating your current insurance plan and considering how your medical needs may change in 2021, the next step is checking out the plans that are available where you live. For example, maybe a particular plan wasn’t available last year but will be available in 2021.
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS AND WARNINGS
- Consider that choosing a different plan could mean paying less for high out-of-pocket expenses.
- Check to see if your physicians and medical clinics are still in-network.
- If you need additional information, regarding comparing insurance plans, call 1-800-MEDICARE after October 15.