4 Reasons to Change Your Medicare Insurance Plan

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period, or AEP, run until December 7th.

During this time, Medicare beneficiaries have the option to change their Medicare Advantage Plans (MAPD) and their Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) for a January 1 effective date.

Here are four reasons you may want to change your Medicare plan this AEP:

1. Improved Ancillary Benefits
It’s common for Medicare insurance companies to include what they call “ancillary benefits” with their offered Medicare MAPD plans. These additional benefits may include dental coverage, gym memberships, acupuncture or chiropractic visits, and meal services. There are even some companies that offer members pest control services, personal response systems, and access to virtual doctors. We recommend taking time to look at the new plans in your area to see if any of them offer coverage similar (or better) to your current plan while including additional benefits you may be entitled to.

2. Doctor and Hospital Networks
Perhaps your primary care doctor has changed medical groups recently and now they are no longer in your plan’s network. Or you may have a specific doctor or specialist you want to start seeing. Many MAPD HMO plans require their Medicare beneficiaries to see doctors who are in-network and will often charge a patient more for seeing a doctor who is out-of-network. If your choice of doctor is a priority for you, find out what medical group(s) they’re a part of, and then ask a Medicare insurance agent which plans in your area have that doctor group in-network.

3. Cost of Coverage
While there may be several Medicare insurance plans in your area, companies set their own premiums, max-out-of pocket coverage, and the cost of emergency room and urgent care visits. It’s possible a new plan has come to your area with a lower premium or max-out-of-pocket than your current plan. In addition to these costs, be sure to compare the cost of the following between the different plans in your area:

  • Emergency Room
  • Urgent Care
  • Copayments – primary doctor and specialists
  • Lab work and diagnostic tests
  • Ambulance

Not sure what plans are available in your area? A Medicare insurance agent can give you that information.

4. Prescription Drug Costs
The cost of prescription drugs varies between insurance companies as well as individual Medicare plans. MAPDs and PDPs have prescription drug formularies that determine what tier a drug is under and what the copayment will be. For example, one company may cover Drug XYZ at a Tier 2 cost while another company covers that same drug at a Tier 3 cost. Prescription drug costs may be your most expensive Medicare expense. If you have a Tier 3, 4, or 5 drug, you should consider using an agent to check the different PDP plans in your area for you.

If you haven’t checked the current plans in your area, or if an agent hasn’t run your prescription drug costs in the past two years, now’s the time to talk to a Medicare insurance agent.

Have more questions?

We can help. Caress Insurance Agency Inc. has Medicare insurance agents in San Diego County as well as the rest of Southern California. Our local agents are ready to help you find a plan that best fits your needs and budget. We work with Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups to help answer your Medicare questions. Call us Monday-Friday, 9-5pm for a free quote and advice: 619-329-5638

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Medicare
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