THE 3 BEST TIMES TO COMPARE MEDICARE PLANS
Yearly Changes in Your Medicare Coverage Can Cost You, Especially When You’re Not Looking!
Yearly provider and drug formulary changes, benefit reductions, and premium and copay increases can turn a good plan into a mediocre plan. That’s why an annual review to compare Medicare plans is essential!
Since we’re independent Medicare specialists, we can review the new changes in Plan XYZ and tell you if Plan ABC has better benefits with lower costs. Representing you, we can recommend any plan when it best matches your priorities and needs.
There are three times in the year for a professional review:
- During the Annual Election Period (October 15 to December 7)
- During the Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage plans (January 1 to March 31)
- During your Birthday Month when you have a California Medicare Supplement (MediGap) plan.
If you haven’t had a Plan “tune up” recently, click on “Review My Plan” and get acquainted with us. We’ll respond quickly!
Time Frames to Compare Medicare Plans
Only about 40% of seniors review their Medicare coverage annually. The big deterrent is it creates confusion, which is completely understandable. It certainly can be, but it doesn’t have to be. Did you know that there is no cost to have a licensed independent insurance agent help you compare Medicare plans? Griset Medicare Solutions can help answer questions any time of the year. However, if changes need to be made, there are some time frames to consider:
Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7)
When you have a Medicare Advantage medical or drug plan you will get an “Annual Notice of Change” by October from your plan that details the changes in coverage and costs that will take effect on January 1. This is the time to compare Medicare plans. We would like you to share this Notice with us so we can review these changes and determine if other plans offer benefit improvements or cost-savings. If our recommendation for a change meets with your approval, we’ll get you enrolled in new coverage before December 7. Without a review your current coverages will continue in the next year as described in the Notice. (Advantage medical enrollees can switch to Original/Basic Medicare during this period and enroll in a separate drug plan as well.)
Your Birthday Month
When you have a California Medicare Supplement plan you can make a change in your coverage during your birthday month without the need for medical underwriting. Since, for example, Supplement Plan G benefits are identical across all G Supplement plans, the main reason to review your coverage is to find other Plan G coverage that has a lower premium. If we find premium savings for you, there is a guideline for making that change to a different insurance carrier: your new coverage must be equal to or reduce the coverage you currently have. For example, if you have G plan coverage with carrier “X”, you can move to a G plan with carrier “Y”. Similarly, you can move from G coverage to any other carrier’s plan that has more limited benefits. When you do a Birthday month enrollment in a new Supplement plan the coverage will be effective the first of the month following your enrollment. (A drug plan that goes with Supplement coverage can be reviewed and changed between October 15 and December 7.)
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment (January 1 to March 31)
During these 3 months, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan you can disenroll in that plan and return to Original (Basic) Medicare and opt for stand-alone drug coverage as well. Additionally, if you have an Advantage plan you can switch to different Advantage plan. Any new coverage you choose will take effect the first of the month following the change. As with the coverage review we offer in the Fall, we are available to review and recommend alternative Medicare Advantage coverages that improve your benefits and/or reduce your costs. We will assist you with any enrollments related to the new Medicare protection you choose.