Medicare’s open enrollment is October 15 – December 7. Even if you’re choosing a Medicare plan for the first time or evaluating your current plan, it’s more important than ever to have the right Medicare plan for your needs.
A 2016 study shows that a 65-year-old retiree couple needs over $288,400 in savings just to cover health care premiums throughout retirement. This doesn’t include out-of-pocket costs (dental, vision, hearing aids, etc.). That means that having a strategy for managing health care expenses in retirement is essential.
A surprising amount people believe that Medicare is free and will cover 100 percent of health care costs once they retire, but estimates indicate that in general, Medicare only covers about half of health costs. So, how can you effectively manage your health care dollars in retirement? One of the best ways is by selecting the right health plan for your unique needs.
Navigating All of Your Options
Picking the health plan that fits your needs and budget is important and can be the difference between having affordable coverage when you need it or having expensive medical bills that must be paid out of pocket. But the number of options available can make it difficult to know which is right for you.
On top of all the options, Medicare enrollees also have to deal with the plan changes that occurs from year to year. Insurance companies use the open enrollment period to make any needed changes to their plan offerings, which they communicate to plan members through the Annual Notice of Change. It is important that you review this document when you receive it in the mail (typically by the end of September or in early October) so that you know what changes are coming to your plan’s costs and/or benefits.
And because your needs can also change from year to year, it can be worth it to go through the plan review process each year. Here are some examples of changes to your situation that could affect how much you pay out of pocket each year:
- Your doctor prescribed a new medication that is no longer covered by your plan’s formulary
- Your doctor is no longer included in your plan’s network
- You moved to a new area where your plan is not offered
These are just a couple examples of how your needs could change and have an effect on your health care costs.
Reviewing Your Plan Each Year
Things you need to consider and research include:
- What will my plan’s monthly premium be?
- What will my maximum out-of-pocket limit be?
- Have any of my benefits changed?
- Do I plan to take any big trips for which I’ll need more than emergency coverage?
- Are all of my doctors still included in my plan’s provider directory?
- Is my hospital still included in my plan’s provider directory?
- Are all of my prescriptions still covered?
- Have any of my prescriptions changed classification tiers (making them more expensive)?
- Did my plan provide the customer service that I needed when issues arose?
All of these factors and more are things you need to consider each year by looking through your Annual Notice of Change, reviewing provider directories and your formulary.
When You Need to Think About Your Plan
Your opportunity to make sure you have the right plan for your needs is during Medicare’s open enrollment period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7). We recommend that you either find help from an advisor you trust or that you find the time to do important research on your own.
We see a great number of individuals during this time of year who do nothing, and we understand why:
- The number of options is overwhelming
- The details are confusing
- If you’re happy with your plan, it’s easier not to change
But it is important to review your situation every year. It may even be good to get a second opinion on the right Medicare plan for you.
Paying attention to these changes helps ensure that you are informed about your plan and will not be surprised by any unexpected expenses.
Finding the Right Medicare Plan for You
At RetireMEDiQ, we understand the frustration of selecting a health plan. Our goal is to simplify the confusion and make finding the right plan easy and stress-free.
Our staff of experts are trained and highly knowledgeable in the Medicare market so that you don’t have to be. Through RetireMEDiQ, you get unbiased advice and help at no cost to you, as well as:
- One-on-one health plan advice
- Help signing up for the health plan of your choice
- Annual advice during Medicare’s open enrollment
- Year-round support with complex health plan issues
Currently, more than 25,000 area retirees look to us for help. It’s our mission to always do the right thing for each client every time.
If you or someone you know is interested in the services of RetireMEDiQ, getting started is easy. Call us at 1-866-600-5638.
Whether or not you have an advisor, it’s important to be sure you have the right coverage. It can make a huge difference in your annual health care expenses and give you Medicare peace of mind.