Ok, ok – it’s not exactly a national holiday or anything.  We don’t decorate.  We don’t get any time off from work (assuming you still work).  We don’t cook any special meals, although some people say we should have a Medicare Margarita to help celebrate!  But it is a real thing and this year it falls on the week of September 15-21.  Why is this week important? It’s a reminder to pause and consider your current health insurance coverages.  Medicare requires insurance carriers that hold a contract with Medicare to send you information regarding plan changes for the upcoming plan year.  This applies for prescription drug plans and Advantage plans – not supplement/medigap plans.  It’s a convenient time because between receiving your Annual Notice of Change documents in September and the beginning of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period which begins on October 15th, you have plenty of time to review your plan.  

Why is it important to review your Medicare insurance plan?  Most people will have either a prescription drug plan or an Advantage plan (most include prescription drug coverage).  Your coverage and costs are based on a calendar year.  So, the costs you are paying this year may be different next year.  Your covered medications may change; your covered pharmacies may change; your copays for medications may change; your covered doctors & hospitals may change.  So, it pays to review these things and if your plan is making changes that you don’t agree with, it’s time to explore all your options.  Medicare gives you 9 weeks to review the new plans and 7 weeks to make a change.  Your new plan selection goes into effect on January 1st.  (of course, there are always exceptions to this.)

So be on the lookout for your Annual Notice of Change in your mailbox or your email inbox.  Review it carefully.  If you are good with any upcoming changes, then you need do nothing.  Your current plan will automatically rollover for the new year and in most cases you will receive a new ID card to begin using on January 1st.  If you need to make a change, be sure to meet with a licensed Medicare insurance agent to explore your options and make any necessary changes.  The Annual Enrollment Period ends December 7th. 

Now for that Medicare Margarita…


Kathy Thousand…

We do not offer every plan available in your area. Currently we represent 8 organizations which offer multiple products in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov, 1-800-MEDICARE, or your local State Health Insurance Program (SHIP) to get information on all of your options.