2016 Medicare Plans: Deadlines, Changes and Tips
Annual Election Periods (AEPs) for Health Insurance for 2016 are fast approaching!
If you have a Medicare plan or an Affordable Care Act Plan (Obamacare), you have a window of opportunity that you’ll want to take advantage of. Enrollment for Medicare plans is coming up first, so we’ll discuss that this month.
Medicare open enrollment dates for 2016 plans: October 15th to December 7th.
These dates affect Part D Prescription Drug Plans and Part C Medicare Advantage Health Plans.
It’s important to review these plans and make any necessary changes by December 7th, 2015. There are only a few exceptions: moving outside the plan’s Service Area, going onto a Low Income Subsidy, or going into a nursing home. After December 7th, 2015 you cannot change your Part D Prescription Drug Plans or Part C Health plans until the 2017 Annual Election Period.
Did you get an Annual Notice of Change in the mail?
You will most likely get an Annual Notice of Change/Evidence of Coverage in the mail from your Part C, or D Plan. This gives you information about your current plan, along with any important changes for 2016. Here’s the problem: many people look at the premium price change and if it seems reasonable, choose to remain in their plan for the next year and look no further. This could be a costly mistake for many reasons.
Part C and D plans change every year. You may be in a good plan in 2015, but that same plan may not be a good choice for 2016. Other plans might give you a wider range of choice in providers, pharmacies, etc. Even your prescriptions might cost less on another plan!
Tips for choosing your 2016 Medicare plan
• Get a professional to do the heavy lifting for you! Find an Insurance Agent you trust. Remember, you pay the same amount for your plans whether you use an Agent or not.
• Understand the Donut Hole, or Coverage Gap.
• Understand your provider and pharmacy networks.
• Understand your cost sharing responsibility and your out-of-pocket maximums.
A Word on Medigap (Medicare Supplement Plans)
Medigap plans are not subject to the Annual Election Period. However, if you have a Medigap plan you may want to look at it and see if you want to make any changes. Now is also the time to move to a Medicare Part C Health plan, if you’re looking to save on premium costs.