After months and maybe even years of planning, you have finally reached the milestone of retirement. While you have certainly put in the hours of research and preparation, there are still some things to keep in mind to ensure your retirement continues to be smooth sailing.
What to Expect When You Retire
When approaching retirement for the first time, most individuals understand how challenging it can be to find and transition into the right health plan. But what many retirees don’t anticipate is the time and energy they need to put into their health plan decisions each and every year. For this reason, we recommend that you decide early on who you will look to for health plan advice and support each year.
During your career, you were probably accustomed to picking a health plan from two or three options and simply staying on that plan year in and year out with very little change. However, in retirement, things are different. Your health needs (the doctors your see, the prescriptions you take, you’re your travel plans) can change from year to year, causing your plan to no longer fit your life. Likewise, health insurance companies are allowed to make changes to their plans once a year during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), potentially causing your plan to no longer fit your budget or lifestyle.
In addition to the annual change, you may encounter complicated problems with your health plan from time to time. The most common issues our clients face are incorrect bills, customer service issues, the need to file an appeal, etc. On your own, knowing what the problem is and getting to the right customer service representative who can solve it can be challenging.
The good news for our clients when it comes to annual change and health plan issues is that they do not have to navigate the confusing maze of the insurance world. They have RetireMEDiQ.
Each year, we work with our clients to understand their evolving needs and changes that are occurring with their health plan to ensure they are always in the plan that is right for them.
Anytime one of our clients has an issue with their plan, they simply call us and we reach out to our insurance company contacts on their behalf to fix the problem. Not only do we save clients time and stress, we are able to get issues resolved quickly because of our relationship with the insurance companies.
Working closely with an advisor like RetireMEDiQ to help you understand your health plan each year and ensure it always works for you is a great first step to making sure your retirement remains stress free.
Expert tip: Explore The RetireMEDiQ Program to see how we can help you plan and prepare for your retirement health care, or call a RetireMEDiQ Benefit Advisor to get answers to your specific questions today.
How Medicare’s Open Enrollment Works and What it means for You
Once you retire and your Medicare plan enrollment is squared away, you can sit back, relax and enjoy your retirement.
In an ideal world, your Medicare plan will always meet your needs and you won’t need to consider other options for a long time. However, in the event that something changes and you want to look at other plan options, you have a chance to do that each year during Medicare’s open enrollment, also called the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).
You most likely have heard of this time of year, starting on October 15 and ending on December 7. Some retirees use this time frame as an opportunity to shop around for other health plan options, because plans introduce new changes in benefit structure and cost for the coming year during this time. If you are already enrolled in Medicare, we strongly encourage you to take time each year during Medicare’s AEP to consider your needs and your plan to decide if it still makes sense for you. The types of things you should look for include:
- Your medical plan’s monthly premium
- Your drug plan’s monthly premium (if it is separate from your medical plan)
- Your deductibles, coinsurances and copay amounts
- Your drug plan’s formulary
- Your plan’s covered providers (doctors, hospitals, health care facilities)
These items and more are outlined in your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC), which your insurance company is required by law to mail to you in September. Be sure to read our article about the ANOC and why it’s important.
Expert Tip: Need help with this analysis? Our Benefit Advisors are experts in the details and are happy to help you with this review.
Things to Know if You Go Back to Work after Retiring
If you decide to go back to work for an employer with more than 20 employees and are offered employer coverage, you will have the option to defer your Medicare Part B. This deferment is only until you no longer are covered by the active employer plan.
Once you no longer have employer coverage, you will generally have eight months after the employer coverage ends to re-apply for your Medicare Part B. If you do not re-apply in this window, you could incur a late enrollment penalty.
As your life changes during retirement, you may find that your health care coverage needs to change, too. The health plan that works for you during your first year as a retiree may not be the right fit for you in your second year, and even less so in five or ten years.
Clients who trust RetireMEDiQ with their retirement health care know that you become our client for life. Our Client Services team is here to help you navigate the changes to your health plan year after year, and we’ll learn about how your life is changing, too.
You can call us for help resolving billing issues, getting a new Medicare ID card, or to ask questions about your coverage. We also keep you updated about important benefits that you may find helpful, like access to fitness programs and health coverage while you’re traveling.
To top it all off—these services are provided at no cost to you, year after year, for as long as you remain a client. So as you plan for your next chapter, remember that RetireMEDiQ is here to help you, no matter what stage of life you’re in. From pre-retirement planning to lifelong support, we are ready to help you each step of the way.