Were you aware that on October 15, 2022, Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period started? Whether you are new to Medicare or have been on it for a while, remember that every year Medicare health and drug plans make changes. Those changes range from out of pocket costs and network coverage to providers and pharmacies within their networks. So there is a lot for the Medicare beneficiary to review.
If you are a Florida senior on Medicare, we highly recommend that you take the time to review your health plan annually. There may be Medicare plan coverage changes to your plan or your own health condition may have changed, so you need to determine whether you need to make any changes during this open enrollment period. We would like to share five questions for you to answer. The discussion with each question may be able to help you be sure that you have the Medicare coverage that best meets your needs.
1. Did you receive and review your Annual Notice of Change letter? During the month of September all Medicare beneficiaries are sent an “annual notice of change” letter from your Medicare plan. Medicare explains all the changes coming in the new year in this benefits letter. This benefits letter should provide an overview including coverage and costs, premiums, deductibles, and copays.
2. If you are eligible, have you signed up for Medicare yet? If you are eligible do not wait to sign up for Medicare. In fact, did you know that first time beneficiaries do not have to wait for the annual enrollment period? However, first time beneficiaries need to review the benefits available to them. If you are ready to enroll and learn more, visit the Medicare website.
3. Are you contemplating switching plans? Have you looked at what additional plans are available in your area? You can look at The Medicare Plan Finder on the Medicare website. This is an online tool from the government that can help you select and compare plans. You enter your zip code, details about your medications and whether you receive them by mail and then you can compare plans available in your area.
4. Have your healthcare needs changed during the past year? As a Florida senior are you thinking about switching to a new plan? Does it look like an overwhelming task? You should begin by getting an accurate picture of whether your Medicare plan is the best fit for you by looking at your medical expenses over the last six months. Reviewing your medical care for the last six months will enable you to account for changes in your health as well as changes in your plan.
5. Do you know if there is a less expensive option for you? Did you know that premiums for some parts of Medicare are based on your modified adjusted gross income (or MAGI) from two years ago? MAGI also adds in capital gains, Social Security, and required minimum distributions from individual retirement accounts and 401(k) plans. We know you cannot change your income, but you can plan for 2022’s premiums.
For more information, we encourage you to call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit Medicare.gov. We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. The Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys (AFELA) is the preeminent organization of Florida elder law attorneys providing advocacy, education and action on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities. We encourage you to contact one of our attorneys in your area using our Find a Lawyer website for assistance.