The 2021 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is almost here. Are you ready? Are you sure?

The 2021 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (“AEP”) is right around the corner. From October 1st through October 14th you may contact a licensed insurance agent at Connect One Health (1-888-766-4448), who can review any changes to your current plan with you, as well review options from other carriers for the 2022 plan year. During AEP — which runs from October 15th through December 7th — any Medicare beneficiary can change their health plan or prescription drug coverage for the upcoming calendar year. 

For example, anyone who is enrolled in Medicare may:

  • switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan;
  • switch from their current Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan, to a different Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan, as many times as they choose*; or
  • switch back to Original Medicare from a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan.

If you are new to Medicare and/or do not have a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Supplement Plan, we suggest you review “Why Original Medicare may not provide you with all the benefits and financial protection you need” which will give you a short “primer” on why you should consider a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Supplement Plan.

If you already have a Medicare Advantage Plan, now is the time to evaluate that plan; consider whether it was a “good fit” for you in 2021; determine whether the plan is changing in 2022; and, if appropriate, consider new options. To help you do all of that, we have put together 5, easy-to-follow “Steps” that should get you fully prepared for the 2021 AEP, so you can make the right Medicare decision for you for the upcoming 2022 plan year.

Or click below to review these “Steps” as a recorded discussion between our CEO and Director of Education — https://us06web.zoom.us/rec/share/y1frDLxHHieZp3IvzUGZ0mmLxrj1lUeyGuCHDZSCJwvkUsG5_LGxCYNKuhIHKiw._mo1ks0ZId0wu-r3 
Passcode: CY9GA#3#

5 “Steps” to take to ensure you make the right Medicare decision for this upcoming year!!

STEP 1: Review your Annual Notice of Change (“ANOC”) for your Medicare plan

Your ANOC should be arriving in your mailbox soon. This document will show and compare the changes to your current plan that will take effect in 2022. You must review the changes so you know if your current plan still meets your needs. Specifically, the ANOC will contain information that allows you to check prescription plan formularies, and doctor and specialist networks.

What if you ignore your ANOC? Your coverage could change and adversely impact you!

STEP 2: Review Your Healthcare Experience From 2021 / Plan For Your Needs in 2022

Ask yourself the following questions:

Was I satisfied with the healthcare services I received this past year? For example:

  • Did my doctor see me in a timely manner when I had an appointment?
  • If I had a minor emergency, was I able to see my doctor right away?

Based on the ANOC, are all of my doctors still in my plan’s network in 2022?

Have there been changes in my overall health needs since the beginning of 2021? 

  • Am I seeing my Primary Care Physician more frequently?
  • Have I added specialists to meet certain healthcare needs?

Do I anticipate any material healthcare changes or needs during 2022?

  • Any planned or potential surgeries? 
  • Any increase in routine testing?

What do my 2021 medical out-of-pocket expenses look like in comparison to my anticipated expenses in 2022?

STEP 3: Review Your Prescriptions

Your ANOC will include directions to your carrier’s formulary for your plan. Here’s what to do with that information:

  1. Take an inventory of your prescriptions, including dosage and quantity/day.
  2. Are all of your prescriptions in their prescribed dosages on the formulary?
  3. Do you anticipate changes in your 2022 prescription needs (e.g., will you need to change diabetic medication to include insulin)?
  4. Is your current pharmacy a preferred pharmacy in your 2022 Medicare Advantage plan?
  5. Compare your prescription out-of-pocket expenses for 2021 v. anticipated expenses for 2022
  6. Is there an option to save on copayments by utilizing a mail order pharmacy? 

STEP 4: Explore Your Options for 2022 / Schedule an Appointment to Enroll

From October 1st through October 14th you may contact a licensed insurance agent at Connect One Health (1-888-766-4448), who can review any changes to your current plan with you, as well review options from other carriers for the 2022 plan year.**

If you decide that switching to a new plan is right for you, you may schedule an appointment with a licensed agent to enroll into the plan of your choosing, any time from October 15th until December 7th (But don’t wait until the last minute!!)

STEP 5: Enroll in a Plan

If you want to make a change from your current plan,*** you may do so starting on October 15th and ending on December 7th. We have two options that you may utilize to meet telephonically with a Connect One Health licensed agent to complete your enrollment:

  1. Call us at 1-888-766-4448 and ask to speak to a licensed agent about enrolling. If no agent is available immediately, you will be given the option of scheduling an appointment as soon as the next agent is available, OR you may schedule an appointment at another time or date that works best with your schedule; OR
  2. You may complete our Contact Us form and specify in the Notes your schedule preferences for a call-back from a licensed agent.

Final Thought . . . When in doubt, call us!

We hope that we have made the AEP preparation process fairly simple, but if anything is unclear, you have a question we didn’t answer, or you just feel more comfortable speaking to someone, you can reach us Monday through Friday from 8am until 6pm EST, at 1-888-766-4448.

NOTES:

*During AEP, a beneficiary may change their election as many times as they wish and the last plan choice received by CMS as of December 7th will be the plan that takes effect on January 1st.

**CMS prohibits Medicare beneficiaries from enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan prior to October 15th, unless you are in your Initial Enrollment Period. Please see “When can I enroll in Medicare” for a discussion of the Initial Enrollment Period.

***If you are satisfied with your current coverage and any changes to your plan from last plan year, and your current plan is still being offered for the upcoming plan year, you do not have to do anything and you will be re-enrolled in your current plan.