I spoke at a community event recently and ran into a lovely lady that illustrates very well what we run into on a daily basis. I could tell I had hit a nerve by watching her body language and how she dominated the Q&A section immediately following my remarks.
I was talking about how you must manage Medicare plans. During the course of our conversation, she told me she was increasingly displeased with her plan because it seemed like it was getting more expensive compared to her neighbors. I asked how long she had been in this plan and she said several years!
Believe it or not, this is very common. As good as Medicare Advantage plans are, you will likely want to make adjustments as the plans change. Drug formularies, doctor networks, and plan benefits often change each year. Additionally, new plans are introduced to the market to entice people to enroll.
If you remain in a plan for several years, you might notice that the premiums, co-pays and deductibles drift up during that time. You might also notice that the drug co-pays increase or the premium rises faster than new plans. It’s not that your plan is bad, it’s just that it is now outdated as new plans come out.
This lady had noticed all of these things. She even had to change doctors a couple of times when her preferred doctor stopped accepting her plan!
This story has a happy ending. We set an appointment and after a short period of time, she had her preferred doctor back as well as an updated plan with much better benefits. She was elated!
It’s not hard to “manage” your plan. Be opinionated about what you want and need…especially as your health changes. Most of all, don’t feel as though you have to stay in an existing plan. The Annual Election Period (AEP) is there to allow you to make changes at least once per year. There are also numerous Special Election Periods (SEPs) that sometimes can be used to make additional changes under special circumstances.
At Senior Health Services, we believe in making this process easy and even fun! We simplify the Medicare process for you, explain how it all works and then help you find the type of plan that fits your needs the best.
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