No one likes having to choose their Medicare plan. Deciding to switch plans should not be done lightly and when you do this, you need to shop and compare before you choose.
Things to Consider About Switching Your Medicare Plan
The time to implement a new plan is during the Medicare annual enrollment period should you choose to. This period runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. The change in coverage will go into effect on January 1.
You may also change plans outside the annual enrollment period with many different qualifications.
When it comes to deciding to change your plan, there are 3 questions you’ll want to ask about your current plan. If you answer no to any of these questions, you should consider sitting down with an agent at a reputable agency and looking at a new plan.
Will You Have The Medicare Coverage You Need?
To answer this question, you will need to find out how your plan is going to be changing in the new year, if it is at all. Insurance companies will review and could change the Part D and Medicare Advantage plans each year. Your plan will notify you that there are going to be changes to the coverage and cost of your plan in the Annual Notice of Changes.
When you get this notice, you need to take the time to read it.
You need to look for Part D changes such as one medicine moving from one tier to another. Low-tier medication will often cost you less than the higher-tier ones.
You also need to check to see if there are new prior authorizations or step therapy requirements. There are many plans that use this as a cost-saving measure, and this will be helpful for you. However, if you are affected, you need to know what you can expect in the new year.
Are You Comfortable with The Premium and Other Costs Of The Plan?
Premiums are a familiar cost and usually the first thing that you see when you look at insurance documents. After all, you need to know what you are going to be paying each month. It is important to note that Medicare plan providers could change their premiums.
While this is important to look at, there are other costs that you also need to look at such as co-pays, deductibles, and coinsurance. These costs will be explained in the plan under the Explanation of Benefits section. When you look at this, you need to ensure that it is the plan details for the right year.
If you have a deductible, you will be responsible for the cost of your care to this amount. Your plan coverage will only start after you have paid this amount.
You should check for any changes in the deductibles and how this is going to affect your budget.
Co-pays and coinsurance can often be harder to understand. These are the costs that you are charged when you receive medical care. If you go to see the doctor, you may have to pay $20. With coinsurance, you may have to pay a percentage of the cost of the plan for an exam or test.
You’ll want to think about the services that you are going to need in the next year and determine what the costs might be. Planned services and procedures will need to be considered as this will impact your overall budget. To determine the full costs of the plan, you need to add your premium to the additional costs. This will give you an estimate that you can then use to make your decision.
Are You Able to Get Covered Services from Pharmacies, Doctors and Hospitals That You Like?
Medicare plans can change their medical care provider and pharmacy networks each year.
You will have to check the plan details to ensure that your doctor and pharmacy are still within the network.
You will generally be able to get a full network list from the plan website.