| Tue, Oct 16, 2018 @ 08:30 AM

It’s Medicare Annual Enrollment. Now What?

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

Many health insurance plans, such as employer plans, require you to choose your coverage every year. Not Medicare.

Your Medicare coverage renews automatically at the start of each year unless you change it. You don’t have to do anything. You simply stay enrolled in your current Part D or Medicare Advantage plan.

So you might wonder why you hear so much about the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period every fall.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Is Made For You

To understand why Medicare annual enrollment matters, think about this question: How has my health, lifestyle or budget changed since I picked my current Medicare plan? A change in any one of these areas could mean that your plan no longer meets your needs. The Annual Enrollment Period is when you can change your plan if you decide to.

There’s another reason that annual enrollment matters. Insurance companies review and adjust their plans annually. They change benefits or costs to better serve their members – and to compete for your business. Your own plan may look different next year than it does today. Coverage or cost changes could bring unwelcome surprises if you allow your plan to renew without reviewing it.

Medicare created the Annual Enrollment Period so you can get the coverage that’s right for you going forward. New Medicare plans are introduced every year. There may be a plan out there now that fits your needs better than the one you currently have. It pays to shop.

How to Take Advantage of Medicare Annual Enrollment

Medicare is an important purchase. Besides defining what health services are covered, the plan you choose will have an impact on who provides your health care, what you pay for it and where you go to get it.

You need to research your Medicare coverage options just as you would before buying any major item. For example, you may spend quite a bit of time deciding which car, refrigerator or TV to buy. Choosing a Medicare plan is at least as important as that!

This simple 3-step process can help ease the task of shopping and comparing plans:

  1. Think about your personal health care needs and the kind of coverage that will meet them. Use our Needs Assessment Tool as a guide.
  2. Check your needs against your current plan benefits. Complete this short Plan Review Worksheet to see how well your plan may work for you next year.
  3. Compare your plan with other plans offered where you live. Use our Plan Finder Worksheet to view plan benefits side by side.

The Bottom Line

Your Medicare coverage matters. Start today and take the time you need to make an informed choice during Medicare annual enrollment.

You can find all the plans available where you live by visiting Medicare’s Plan Finder. Annual enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Coverage changes go into effect on Jan. 1.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.