Medicare can be a complex and overwhelming topic, leading beneficiaries to enroll and never look back. There are, however, many benefits to revisiting your coverage on an annual basis and determining if you still have the benefits you need at a price that works for your budget. To figure out if you should consider changing Medicare plans or not, think of the following:
One of the most common Medicare myths is that everyone is paying the same amount for their Medicare coverage, whether it’s Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B) or a Medicare Advantage plan. While deductibles and coinsurance for Original Medicare can be similar, premiums for both Part A and B can vary significantly from person-to-person. Original Medicare only covers about 80% of your health care needs, leaving you responsible for the remaining 20% on top of your premiums, coinsurance and deductibles. It’s crucial to check in each year to ensure you’re still getting the most beneficial price available to you with the coverage you need.
Medicare Advantage plans—also known as Medicare Part C—provide an alternative to Original Medicare. Just like Original Medicare, these plans and their coverage can change annually. While $0/month plans could be available in your area,1 it’s still extremely beneficial to compare coverage and rates each year.
Taking the time to understand what the different parts of Medicare cover (or don’t cover) is crucial to ensuring you’re getting the benefits you deserve. For example, Original Medicare doesn’t typically include additional coverage such as a Prescription Drug plan, but you might be able to find a Medicare Advantage plan that does. Or maybe your current plan includes coverage you might not currently need, therefore you might benefit from simplifying your plan. At SelectQuote, we get to know your needs and can help you compare coverage from some of the most trusted insurance companies in the nation at no cost to you.
Whether it’s the doctor’s office you visit, where your pharmacy is located or if your coverage includes travel, it’s important to make sure your plan meets all of your needs.
When to Change Your Medicare Plan
There are a number of different Medicare Enrollment Periods, all of which have unique qualifiers for when you can make changes to your Medicare coverage. The enrollment periods include:
- Medicare Initial Enrollment Period – The Initial Enrollment Period is for those who just became eligible for Medicare, beginning three months before your 65th birthday and continues through the three months following.
- Medicare Annual Enrollment Period – The Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs from October 15-December 7 each year. During this enrollment period, Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to review their current coverage and make changes that oftentimes lead to more affordable coverage or provide more benefits.
- Medicare General Enrollment Period – The General Enrollment Period runs from January 1-March 31 each year and is a chance for individuals who didn’t sign up for Original Medicare when they were first eligible. There could be a late enrollment fee for signing up late and coverage doesn’t start until July 1 of that year.
- Medicare Special Enrollment Period – Certain life events—such as moving, losing employer coverage, being diagnosed with a qualifying chronic condition, or moving in or out of a skilled nursing facility or long-term hospital care—can make individuals eligible to enroll during a Special Enrollment Period.
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period – The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1-March 31 and allows some Medicare Advantage participants to make a one-time change to their coverage. This enrollment period is only accessible for current Medicare Advantage policyholders.
Find the Right Medicare Plan and Coverage For You
Regardless of if you’re satisfied with your current plan or not, it can be extremely beneficial to shop around each year to ensure your Medicare coverage still meets your needs. Our Medicare Checklist can help you get prepared to work with one of our licensed insurance agents, but even without it, our experienced agents simplify the process. There’s no obligation to enroll in a new plan and the service is free to you. Let us help you make sure you have all the benefits you deserve.
1 This is not a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048 ), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
SelectQuote is a licensed and certified representative of a Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PFFS organization and a stand-alone prescription drug plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal.
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