Open Enrollment is the annual period (October 15 – December 7) for Medicare recipients to make changes to their healthcare coverage for the upcoming year.
Outside of Open Enrollment, you will not be able to make changes to your Medicare plan unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
As a Medicare recipient, think of Open Enrollment as a time to ask: “Am I satisfied with what my current Medicare plan offers me, and am I aware of upcoming changes for 2024?” This is a time to ensure your selected healthcare plan aligns with current and future needs.
Your 2023 plan may have been perfect for you this past year, but 2024 could come with adjustments that could change your coverage next year–or you may have some medical changes that warrant a new plan.
With more than 70 plans in Northeast Ohio to choose from, it is crucial to know how your plan is going to change within the next year and what other coverage plans have to offer.
Follow our four steps below to make the most out of Open Enrollment:
1. Review Your Current Medicare Plan
Now is the time to pull out your Medicare-related documents–whether you have organized folders in filing cabinets or digital files stored on the computer–and look at your current coverages/benefits.
Once you have your relevant documents in hand, you’ll want to:
- Reflect on your past year of medical needs and expenses including any notices of change from your provider.
- Ensure you have a general understanding of each part of your Medicare Plan:
- Part A (hospital insurance)
- Part B (medical insurance)
- Part C (Medicare Advantage)
- Part D (prescription drug coverage)
- Familiarize yourself with what each part covers to determine how your plan fits your lifestyle. If there is any section that is unclear, make note of that to review with your agent. They will be able to explain each part with immense detail.
2. Discover If Changes Are Coming to Your Current Medicare Plan
Look for a Plan Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) which will outline any changes that could be coming to your current plan in January.
The two parts that are experiencing the most changes in 2024 are:
- Part D Prescriptions
- Extra Benefits
Part D Prescriptions
- Each year carries changes to prescription drug coverage tiers which can result in rising prescription costs in January. The changes mostly affect tier-III prescription drugs that are still patented with the pharmaceutical companies that created them and a generic form is not yet available.
- You may start off the year paying $200 for a certain prescription and it could jump up to $600 by the end. This is caused by what we call a coverage gap or a “donut hole” in the Medicare plan.
- It is crucial to be aware of the coverage gap and know whether this could change in your current plan for 2024 to avoid any unforeseen out-of-pocket costs.
- Extra benefits are included in most Medicare Advantage plans; however, certain plans may have significant changes to coverage amounts in 2024.
- Changes to these coverage levels have been different across the board depending on the provider. Some are seeing plans increase the amount of coverage they offer, some decrease, and others change the way the coverages are allotted.
- It is important to know the amount of coverage provided by your current Medicare Advantage Plan. Certain plans that used to separate preventive and comprehensive care are now combining that allotment. These changes to your plan could lead to higher out-of-pocket costs for you 2024.
- Your agent will be able to explain what Extra Benefits you currently utilize, and how your plan may change in 2024.
3. Plan Ahead for Your Future Needs
Now that we are aware there are big changes to the parts listed prior, let’s look forward to changes in your own medical needs. After reviewing your current Medicare plan, the potential changes happening to it, and analyzing how well it fits your current needs, it’s time to think about what next year will bring.
Will your medical needs be the same for the next coming year or will they change?
Perhaps you will need to take a new prescription or would just like to switch brands.
It is also important to consider whether you like your current provider, and/or the hospitals in your network. While planning ahead for the upcoming year, be sure to select a plan that includes those in-network coverages so no change is necessary to the faces you are used to seeing.
Brainstorm your future needs and make a list of notes and questions to bring to your meeting with your agent at My Medicare Network (a non-governmental entity).
4. Meet With a Licensed Agent From My Medicare Network
This is the simplest yet most important step for making the most out of the Open Enrollment period.
- Getting expert advice is key to navigating the intricacies of your options for Medicare plans. It also adds ease to learning about any changes affecting your current plan/coverages and whether it is beneficial to switch your current provider.
- During your meeting, you and your agent will review your current and future healthcare needs to decide what plan is your best option. Your agent will review factors such as premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses for each option.
- Together you can select a plan that provides comprehensive coverage with reasonable costs for the services you typically require and plan for future needs. With more than 11 carriers and 70 Medicare plans, meeting with an agent takes the guesswork out of selecting the plan that’s right for you and will simplify the process.
The agents at My Medicare Network take pride in the trusted relationships built with each one of their clients. With more than 100 five-star Google reviews, you can be certain that you will leave your appointment feeling educated about Medicare, prepared for the upcoming year, and happy that your healthcare plan selections are in good hands.