| Wed, Oct 23, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

To Change or Not to Change Medicare Coverage: Medicare Open Enrollment Boot Camp

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

medicare coverageThe fifth in a series of eight articles to help you make informed Medicare coverage decisions. If you missed our fourth article on changing Medicare coverage, be sure to check it out here.

The most recent article in this series addressed how changes in your health, finances or lifestyle might mean you need to change your Medicare coverage during Medicare Open Enrollment. It provided links to two tools you could use to help you think about whether a change is in order for you. If you missed that article, you can view it now.

Once you understand what you need from your Medicare coverage, you can begin to look at the coverage you currently have to see if it still works for you. That’s what this article is about.

Pay Attention to Plan Changes

By now you should have received an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) if you have a Medicare Advantage plan or participate in Medicare Part D. It’s tempting to toss this material, but it’s a good idea to read it instead.

These documents have important information about changes to your plan for 2014. Changes may include:

  • Premium, deductible, copayment or other price changes
  • Doctors, hospitals or pharmacies leaving or joining the network
  • Prescription drugs removed from or added to a plan formulary, or moved to a different cost tier

Plans can even decide to stop servicing the area where you live. If that happens, you will receive a Service Area Reduction Notification.

Take the time now to review this material. You don’t want to let Medicare Open Enrollment go by only to be caught off guard with higher costs or coverage changes in January.

Evaluate Your Current Coverage

Our Medicare Plan Review Worksheet can help you think through your experience with your current coverage in four important areas—coverage, cost, convenience and satisfaction. You can complete the worksheet online and print out a copy for your records.

You may also want to make a list of your prescription medications at this time. Include what your copayment is for each and what tier each is in, if your plan uses a tier system.

Keep your medication list in a file or folder with the plan materials and other information you collect as you explore your Medicare choices. Having everything in one place can be a big help if you decide to change your coverage and need to evaluate how well different choices may meet your needs.

Stay With Us!

View the next post in our Medicare Boot Camp Series that explores reviewing your prescription drug coverage. And check out all of our weekly Boot Camp series posts. Be prepared to make an informed decision about your Medicare coverage for 2014.

For more information, 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. If you have questions about Medicare Made Clear, call 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources

Show Me Guide: Use this guide to help you understand your Medicare choices and find the plan that might be right for you.

Medicare & You: Learn about Original Medicare coverage and costs in this annual publication.

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