Each fall, Medicare allows you to review your plan and make necessary or desired changes during the Annual Enrollment Period. It begins on October 15 and runs until December 7. Why should you worry about this right now? Well, because your healthcare plan is an important part of both your health services and financial plans. Taking the time to carefully review your options is always wise. Here’s what you need to do.
Watch your mail closely. Your plan administrator will send you an Annual Notice of Changes, which details any changes that will be made to your current plan in 2022. This notice will help you to decide whether your plan still suits your needs, or you need to shop for a new one.
Review your budget and expenses. Gather old statements and review your spending on healthcare services and medications from the past year. Are you satisfied with how healthcare spending fits into your budget, or are you concerned about rising costs? In particular, research the cost of any medications you use regularly, and whether there are more affordable options within your plan’s drug formulary (or another plan’s formulary).
Consider upcoming coverage needs. Do you feel satisfied with your network of providers and facilities? Are you expecting to undergo any tests or procedures next year? Are your medication needs changing? Look carefully at what your current plan provides with regard to these issues.
Shop around, even if your current plan isn’t changing. Even if your current plan seems acceptable, you won’t know if a better option is available unless you look! If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with all of the different options available to you, such as Original Medicare versus Medicare Advantage plans, supplemental plans, prescription plans, and more.
Ask for help. Medicare is an enormous, complex system. Luckily there are licensed professionals who can offer you free information and advice, and who will help match you with a plan or plans that suit your needs.