Medicare Annual Enrollment Period: What You Need to Know Posted October 2023

If you are enrolled in Medicare, chances are you’re seeing or hearing a lot about Medicare plans right now. That’s because October 15 marks the start of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) – also referred to as the Open Enrollment Period.

Medicare health and drug plans can change from year to year in a variety of ways. These changes may have a significant impact on everything from costs and coverage to in-network providers and pharmacies.

From October 15 through December 7, those currently enrolled in Medicare have the opportunity to change their current Medicare Managed Care Plan (better known as Medicare Advantage Plans) or stand-alone prescription drug coverage to better meet their current healthcare needs and/or budget.

Now is the time to review your options for 2024 and make sure you understand what changes in coverage you can make.

When can you make changes to your Medicare plans ?

  • The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period starts October 15, 2023 and ends on December 7, 2023.
  • Changes you make during the 2023 enrollment period will go into effect on January 1, 2024.

What changes can you make during the Annual Enrollment Period?

  • If you are currently enrolled in original Medicare (Parts A and B), you can purchase additional coverage for the 20% of costs that traditional Medicare does not cover. This can be either a medical supplement plan and a stand-alone prescription drug plan or a Medicare Managed Care Plan (Medicare Advantage Plan) that may include prescription drug coverage as well as additional bells and whistles.
  • You can also switch from one Medicare Managed Care Plan (Medicare Advantage Plan) to another.
  • You may elect to change your stand-alone prescription drug plan coverage (Medicare Part D).
  • All changes are effective January 1, 2024.

What do you need to consider when reviewing your plans? First and foremost, we encourage our clients to do their homework! All Medicare beneficiaries will receive an Annual Notice of Changes that summarizes the changes in costs and benefits from 2023 to 2024. Reviewing the first few pages is a must-do, especially if your medical needs, medications and/or doctors have changed over the last year.

When reviewing your Annual Notice of Changes, pay close attention to the following:

  • Premiums: Has there been a change to the monthly premium for your Medicare health plans or prescription drug coverage from 2023 to 2024? It may wise to consider another plan.
  • Copayments: Compare your plan’s copays for your primary care doctors and specialists to see if they have gone up or down. Also check to see if there are any changes in the ancillary benefits available to you in your plan, such as dental, hearing, and vision.
  • Prescription Drug Coverage: There are numerous changes being made to stand-alone prescription drug coverage plans for 2024, so it is important to review your Annual Notice of Changes carefully – especially if your medications have changed.

If you are not satisfied with upcoming changes to your healthcare or prescription drug coverage, now is the time to explore alternatives. With over 20 years of experience, we understand that navigating the Medicare maze on your own can often be confusing and frustrating. Let us help you choose an option or options that fit your needs going forward. Contact Bruce today for a complimentary consultation.