The 2022 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs from October 15th – December 7th, 2022. Any changes you make during this time will become effective starting January 1st, 2023.
Who can make changes during AEP?
People who are currently enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B can make changes. If you are not yet eligible for Medicare, you will need to wait until your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). And if you’re already eligible but haven’t signed up, you’ll need to wait until the General Election Period (GEP).
If you think that you don’t need to do anything during this period – or that you don’t need to prepare for it – you are almost certainly wrong. Granted, you could do nothing and let your current plans roll over into the new year. But if you do that, chances are you will miss opportunities to improve your coverage, save money, and enjoy other benefits you don’t even know about yet.
Why? Because during AEP, you can:
- Swap your current Medicare Advantage plan for a different and better one.
- Disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and switch back to Original Medicare. Or vice-versa.
- Enroll in a Part D Prescription Drug Plan if you’re not in one now. You can also cancel your Part D plan or switch to a different one if you are currently enrolled.
A Few Examples of Advantages You Could Unlock by Changing Medicare Plans
Why should you consider changing? Here are just a few of the reasons:
- You could switch to a cheaper plan. Health insurance companies often introduce less expensive plans and unless you review what is new, you could end up paying too much.
- You could switch to a plan that has a higher rating. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) uses a star rating system to rate each Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plan yearly. Each plan receives a rating out of 5 stars, with 5 being the highest possible rating. The factors used to determine the rating include customer service, member experience, and the number of member complaints. The ratings for Medicare Advantage plans are also based on preventative care services provided to help people stay healthy. If you switch to a plan with a higher rating, chances are good you will receive better service.
- More of your medications could be covered or covered more fully. If you’ve had a change in your prescription medications in the past year, review your prescription coverage under your current plan and see if other plans provide better coverage. There could also be a change in the copays and coinsurance that you pay under your current plan. If you take high-cost or specialty medications, be sure to check whether any new or alternative plans available in your area offer lower costs. Unless you review your drugs and take the time to research how different plans pay for them, you could spend too much.
- You could be newly allowed to use a primary care provider or specialist you really like or need – or you could be prevented from doing so. If you don’t review what has changed, you could miss the chance to work with the physicians and other care providers you prefer. Remember, doctor networks under Medicare Advantage plans change frequently. You should confirm that your doctors will still be covered under your current plan by contacting your Medicare Advantage plan member support. You should also review the coverage of your current doctors under your current plan and compare it to the network availability of your doctors under other plans. (CoverRight will do a free year-over-year comparison for you – schedule a plan review)
- You could discover that you can add important additional benefits this year. If you’re currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, your plan could now offer additional benefits such as vision, dental, hearing, over-the-counter medications, and fitness membership benefits (just to name a few). You should review the additional benefits available under new plans when evaluating your plan needs for the upcoming year.
What Information Should You Gather to Prepare for AEP?
Now is a good time to start organizing the information you need so you can make an informed decision about whether and how to change your Medicare plan enrollments.
Here is a checklist of information to gather:
- A list of the medications you are currently taking. To that list, add any medications that you believe you might have to start taking in 2023. And also – if you know – list any prescription medications you are taking that will go over the counter in 2023,
- A list of any changes in your health picture that have occurred in the last year. Have you started to experience atrial fibrillation, has your eyesight worsened, are you expecting to need dental implants or hearing aids? Put it all down and be ready to explore plans that cover your needs.
- A list of family and/or domestic changes. Are you moving to a different state? Is one of your children about to start having health insurance coverage of his or her own? Will your spouse move into an assisted living situation? If you are moving, will you have access to the physicians and other care providers you are currently using?
The Easy, Organized and Comprehensive Way to Prepare for the AEP . . .
Be sure to set up a plan review with one of the Medicare concierges at CoverRight.com.
There is never a fee to you for consulting with one of CoverRight’s Medicare agents. The opportunities you discover during your conversation could save you money, improve your Medicare coverage and provide other benefits you won’t even know about until you talk.
CoverRight is on a mission to make the Medicare plan selection process easy to understand. We are here to help you compare Medicare plans and find the one best suited to your specific situation. Try the platform for yourself.
Free Medicare Resources