5 Questions You Should Ask When You’re Considering Making a Medicare Insurance Plan Change
Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period, or AEP, starts October 15 and goes until December 7.
During this time, Medicare beneficiaries can change their Medicare Advantage Plans (MAPD) and their Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) for a January 1 effective date.
If you’re considering making changes to your Medicare plan, here are 5 questions you should ask first.
- Are your primary care doctor and specialists in-network? If you want to keep your current primary care doctor or if you are currently seeing specialists you want to continue to see, check if the plan you are considering switching to has your doctors in-network. A Medicare insurance agent can check to see if your doctors are in-network for you.
- How does the cost of the possible new plan compare with the cost of your current plan? Before switching plans, compare the costs of your current plan with any other plans you’re considering. Some cost areas to consider include:
Urgent Care Visits
Emergency Room Visits
- What prescription drugs are you taking? Whether you’re on a MAPD or looking to switch PDP’s, the cost of your medications can make a big difference to your yearly healthcare costs. A Medicare insurance agent can run a formulary with your specific medication list and compare different MAPDs and PDPs for you. Since the cost of medications changes so frequently, it’s a good idea to check the projected cost of your drugs each year.
- What other benefits are included with your current plan versus a possible new plan? Often, Medicare plans will include additional benefits such as dental, chiropractic, or acupuncture benefits; emergency response systems; gym memberships; or vision and hearing benefits. You can find out what extra benefits your current plan has by asking your Medicare insurance agent or by contacting the member number on the back of your insurance card.
- If you are traveling or frequently live in another state and need medical attention, what might that cost you? If you are someone who often travels out of your service area, double-check what the cost of medical attention will be in another county, state, and even country. Cost areas to consider include:
Visit to the urgent care
Visit to the emergency room
Lab work and other lab diagnostics
In addition, if you split your time living in two different cities during the year, you may qualify for a Passport Program. This feature is included in some Medicare insurance policies, where the insurance company has established networks in both areas. Members with this plan feature can get the same plan benefits in both cities they live in. For more questions about this Passport Program, please contact an insurance agent.
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