Autumn brings changing temperatures and changing colors to most areas of the country. It’s also the one time of year when Medicare recipients can make changes to their coverage. But that isn’t always so easy to do.
Figuring out the benefits of each option and making a choice can be confusing for seniors and for their caregivers. Many people end up sticking with their current plan just to avoid having to make a decision. As a family caregiver you might find yourself struggling to provide assistance with this important task.
We thought it would be helpful to answer some of the more common questions we receive during Medicare Open Enrollment period.
Q: What are the dates for this year’s Medicare Open Enrollment?
A: The dates for Medicare Open Enrollment are the same every year. It begins on October 15th and goes through December 7th.
Q: What is an ANOC?
A: ANOC stands for Annual Notice of Change. You should receive this document in the mail in late September or early October each year. It contains an easy-to-read comparison chart of changes in coverage and costs. Read through it to review any changes in the cost of premiums, deductibles and co-pays.
Q: If I’m happy with my current plan do I have to fill out new forms or do anything to renew my coverage?
A: Medicare doesn’t require you to do anything to continue with your current plan for 2016. But it is important to make time to at least review your ANOC so you are aware of any changes in price or covered services.
Q: If I do decide to make a change, when will the new plan take effect?
A: Changes made during the 2015 Medicare Open Enrollment period will take effect on January 1, 2016.
Q: How can I explore other options for coverage?
A: Medicare Plan Finder and Medicare Mini-Check are sites you can use to locate plans offered in your area or that of your senior loved one.
Q: What does Medicare Part C coverage provide?
A: Medicare Advantage Plans fall under Medicare Part C. These plans are offered through private insurance companies Medicare has contracted with for Medicare A and B benefits.
Q: If I don’t like the Medicare Advantage plan I have, when can I dis-enroll from it?
A: The Medicare Disenrollment Period takes place from January 1st through February 14th each year. During this time, you can withdraw from an advantage plan and enroll in traditional Medicare. The MADP worksheet explains your rights.
Q: How can I learn more about Medicare’s prescription drug coverage?
A: Medicare created the How to Get Prescription Drug Coverage tool to make it easier for enrollees to understand their drug plan options.
Our final tip is to remember that personal guidance is available to Medicare recipients in every state at no cost. To find a Medicare expert in your area visit Medicare’s Helpful Contacts.