Now that the fall season has officially kicked off, a lot of people are busy swapping swimsuits for bulky sweaters and looking up soup recipes to stock their refrigerators. But it's not just cooler weather you should be gearing up for at this time of the year.
If you're enrolled in Medicare, you should know that open enrollment will soon kick off. Each year, seniors on Medicare can make changes to their existing coverage, from Oct. 15 all the way through Dec. 7.
But to make the right call during open enrollment, you'll need to know if your current Medicare plan is undergoing any changes. And that's why you'll need to pay close attention to the notices you get in the mail.
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Read up on Medicare plan changes
Medicare Advantage and Part D drug plans can change from year to year. And your plan is required to send you a notice of change on an annual basis so you know what to expect going into open enrollment.
As such, if you get a notice of change from your Medicare plan, don't just file it away or toss it out because it looks like junk mail. Instead, make it a point to read it cover to cover so you know what changes your current plan is undergoing.
What might those changes entail? If you're enrolled in Medicare Part D, you may find that your plan's drug formulary has changed, resulting in the pills you take being bumped into a higher and more expensive tier. If the idea of higher copays doesn't sit well with you, that might prompt you to look at other Part D plans during open enrollment.
Meanwhile, let's say you're enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Your notice of change might alert you to the fact that a certain benefit offered by your plan is going away, or that your financial responsibility for that benefit may be increasing. Or, you might learn that certain providers will no longer be considered in-network. These are all changes that might prompt you to explore other options for coverage.
Pay attention to every detail
Whether you're doing well financially as a Medicare enrollee or are on a tight budget due to mostly living on Social Security, it's important to know exactly what changes your plan has in store for 2023. That way, you can not only account for them accordingly, but also see if there's a better plan out there that saves you money or makes it easier to get the coverage you need.
So when your Medicare plan's notice of change arrives in the mail, read every page. And if there's something you don't understand, contact your plan administrator to get clarity.
Keep in mind that some of the information in your notice of change may be repetitive. Do your best to roll with that and see that document through until the end.
Medicare could end up being a large expense for you in 2023 (it may be a large expense already). Knowing what changes are in store for your plan could help you choose the right coverage and save yourself not only money, but a world of aggravation.
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