Do Medicare costs and Medicare plans change yearly?  You betcha they do!  Medicare’s monthly premiums, IRMAA surcharges, deductibles and coinsurance all change each year.  Medicare Supplement/Medigap plans automatically adjust to keep up with the government changes so you don’t need to worry there.  However, your private insurance plan premiums may adjust and not always at the beginning of the year – some change in the middle of the year.  I would contact your insurer to verify if there are any rate adjustments coming down the pipeline.  

Have an Advantage plan or a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan?  These private plans almost always change each year and sometimes in your favor!  Here are the things you will want to check:  Are your doctors still accepting the plan?  Are your drugs still being covered?  Does your plan travel well?  Can you still afford it?  Did you get a big rate increase?  Now is a good time to review these things for the upcoming year.  Your insurance plan will have mailed an Annual Notice of Change to you in September to the address they have on file.  However, beware the envelopes that say “This is an advertisement” as these are solicitations and may NOT be plan material from your current insurance plan, which can be very confusing.  Look for envelopes marked “Important Plan Material” instead.  Here are some important dates to know:

October 15th to December 7th – Annual Enrollment Period.  You can change to another Advantage plan, go back to Original Medicare and choose a prescription drug plan, or change your prescription drug plan.  Join an Advantage plan for the first time. Plan changes are effective January 1st.

January 1st to March 31st – Open Enrollment Period.  You can change to another Advantage plan, go back to Original Medicare and choose a prescription drug plan.  Only one change is allowed.  Plan changes are effective the first of the following month.

Of course there are MANY more election periods, but these two are the ones that are predominately being used during the next few months.  So take a look at your current coverage and make sure it is still working well for you.  If not, contact a licensed insurance agent to review your options.

Kathy Thousand, Insurance Options Inc….

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