| Thu, Sep 01, 2016 @ 09:00 AM

Medicare Plan Changes: What to Look For

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

medicare-plan-coverage-changesYou may get a mound of mail about Medicare over the next few weeks. Your Medicare plan, other plans in your area and Medicare itself may send you materials and information.

It’s all meant to help you understand your Medicare coverage choices and make informed decisions during Medicare Annual Enrollment (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7). But it may just be overwhelming.

There is one piece of Medicare mail, though, that you may want to dig out and read. It’s called the Annual Notice of Change, and it comes from your current Medicare plan.

Annual Notice of Change

Your plan sends you an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) document each fall. It explains plan coverage, cost and service area changes that will go into effect the following January. The information is provided to help you decide if your plan will continue to meet your health care and budget needs in the coming year.

Here’s what to look for when you get your ANOC, along with a few questions to help you think through what it all might mean.

  • Plan coverage. Will plan changes affect coverage for the services you may need? Have there been any changes in your health that may affect what services you may need or how often you may need them? If so, will your plan cover the care you may need?
  • Provider network. Are your current doctors in the plan’s provider network? What about hospitals or other providers or specialists you may need? If not, are you willing to switch to other providers that are in the network?
  • Drug list and pharmacy network. Will the drugs you currently take be covered? Have any been assigned to a different tier on the formulary? Will your out-of-pocket cost for your drugs change? Can you continue to use the pharmacies you prefer?
  • Total costs. Will your co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles change? What about the monthly plan premium? Will your total out-of-pocket spending for the services and prescription drugs you may need fit with your budget?

Check with your plan if you are unclear about anything in the ANOC or if you did not receive an ANOC. You can call the customer service number on the back of your member card.


Take the time to review your current coverage. You don’t want to be caught off guard by higher costs or coverage changes after January 1. And whatever your decision may be—to stay with your current plan or to explore other Medicare coverage options—you want to make it based on the facts.

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.


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