November Medicare Must-Knows

RetireMEDiQ strives to keep individuals informed about the latest Medicare news. Each month, we recap the top information consumers need to know about recent developments in the Medicare industry and how it may affect you.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Continues

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is happening now. From Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, Medicare beneficiaries can add a Medicare Advantage plan to their Original Medicare benefits. If you have a Medicare Advantage or Supplement (Medigap) plan, you can also switch plans or purchase additional coverage until the first week of December.

Any changes you make to your benefits during AEP apply in January 2021. Over 48,000 Medicare Advantage plans are available for 2021, with an average monthly premium decrease of 34% since 2017.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) offered three pieces of advice for this year’s AEP.

  1. Get your flu shot.
  2. Beware of Medicare and Social Security scams.
  3. If you plan to enroll in a plan during the COVID-19 pandemic, seek virtual assistance.

RetireMEDiQ currently offers phone and video appointments where you can consult with an expert about your benefits for next year. Curious about hohttps://www.retiremediq.com/schedule/w you can be prepared for AEP? Read more here.

Part D Senior Savings Model Announced

Beginning in 2021, the Medicare Part D Senior Savings model will go into effect. To regulate prescription costs, this model coordinates with pharmaceutical companies and Medicare Advantage plan carriers. Specifically, it will provide more predictable copayments for insulin—a 30-day cap of $35—that applies to the deductible, initial coverage, and coverage gap phases.

On a participating plan, Medicare beneficiaries could save $446 annually on their out-of-pocket insulin expenses. Over 1,600 Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans are forecasted to participate in 2021. Depending on the success of the model, more plan options could be available in the future.

2021 Cost-of-Living Adjustment Announced

In 2021, the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to Social Security and Supplemental Security Income will be 1.3%. In other words, Social Security beneficiaries will see a 1.3% increase in their benefits in the coming year.

Every year, the government calculates an increase in benefits based on inflation. Last year’s increase was 1.6%, compared to 2.8% in 2019. Concern now exists, factoring in the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent financial crisis, that this year’s COLA may not be enough to protect Social Security beneficiaries. Read more from the Senior Citizens League.

Medicare Expands Telehealth Services

Last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded their list of covered telehealth services for Medicare beneficiaries. Eleven new health care services can now be performed via video chat, including cardiac rehabilitation. View the complete list here.

While Medicare previously covered these services for in-person visits, it will temporarily include telehealth options in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All services must be completed using video and audio to be covered.

Read our list of tips to help you prepare for your next telehealth appointment.

We’d Love to Hear from You!

If you have questions about anything covered in this post, we encourage you to comment below. You can also contact our team of client advisors by calling 1-877-222-1942 or emailing client@retiremediq.com.

If you are not yet a RetireMEDiQ client, we are available to offer you Medicare guidance. Contact our advisor team by calling 1-855-981-8611.

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