Is It Time to Change Your Medicare Plan? Here’s How to Know
As we near the opening of the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period this coming October 15, you may be thinking about dropping your current Medicare plan and enrolling in a new one.
So, should you? In my 20 years as an insurance advisor in Troy, Michigan for American Insurance Advisors, I have met no shortage of clients who have either sworn off switching and who have deemed the move to be one of the best decisions they’ve ever made. Right now, you could be either of the two.
Make no mistake, failure to elect the new Medicare plan that’s right for you doesn’t just take a few dollars off your savings. That span of one year before you’re able to drop or switch to a different insurance plan in Michigan can be the difference between a fast recovery and re-hospitalization. Also, if you drop your employer or union coverage because the arrangement you were hoping for didn’t come through, you are more likely not to get it back again.
So, how do you make the right decision? I suggest asking yourself of these essential questions and reflecting over them so you can get a clearer picture of what your actual needs are. These could also help you with decisions regarding your life insurance.
- Can I conveniently get my health care from my health care provider?
If going to your provider is inconvenient one way or another, under Original Medicare, you would just usually need to find one in your area since your plan allows you to enlist the help of any care provider as long as they carry Medicare.
However, under Medicare Advantage, you are limited with a fixed network of doctors and care providers, which means that you can’t easily swap providers, even though it takes you half a day to go to your preferred networks or that the next provider carrying the service you need is a state away. This can also be a problem if your trusted doctor or care facility who knows your medical history is no longer in-network. If this is the case, it may be time to consider switching plans.
- Are my prescriptions sufficiently covered? Did my medications get considerably expensive?
Your prescriptions can move from low tier to a higher one. The lower the tier, the more affordable the medicine is. However, if your medicine suddenly shot up to the specialty tier, the most expensive option for brand name drugs, it may be worth it to switch plans.
It’s also a good choice to switch if there are cheaper alternatives in the market and when comparing them side-by-side, they are equivalent to the coverage what you have now.
- Will a supplemental policy significantly help my situation? Do I want a plan with extra benefits?
– Medicare Advantage offers certain coverage that Original Medicare doesn’t cover such as sight, hearing, and fitness benefits. If these are services you see yourself regularly spending on, it’s a good move to switch to a plan that covers them. Not only does this save you money, but you also literally need them.