Did you know that between 90 and 95 percent of people enrolled in Medicare overpay? That’s just one reason why conducting a review of your Medicare plan is so important. While it can feel a bit burdensome or overwhelming, it’s important to not underestimate the role of due diligence.
Medicare’s open enrollment period, which continues through December 8, allows you do your own comparison shopping. This is especially important for those with growing drug costs.
Annual Notice of Change
You should have received the ANOC, or Annual Notice of Change prior to open enrollment. This important document provides information on what Medicare changes you can expect in 2016. But what happens if you want to make changes? Of course, meeting with your Medicaid and Medicare lawyer is a great way to move through the process as he can provide insight on various dynamics and expectations of any changes you do decide to make. There are also other ways to review your coverage.
The Medicare site itself is chock-full of information, resources and plans. In fact, one tool allows you to enter the medications you currently take and get returns on what plans are available, the costs and benefits. Not comfortable online? Medicare offers an 800 number staffed by representatives who can conduct the search for you – and it’s all free. That number is 800-633-4227 and it’s available 24 hours a day. Also, medicarerights.org is another website that presents a number of facts, updates to laws and policies, legislation efforts and other important consumer topics.
Arming Yourself with the Right Information
Once you’ve reviewed all of the information and realize your current plan is just right for your needs, you may wonder if maybe you’ve missed something (remember – 90 to 95 percent of people overpay). You might be part of that small minority that really does have the best plan. You won’t know until you delve into the details.
Other Factors Associated with Your Medicare Plan
And here’s something you may not know: you and your spouse don’t have to use the same plan. You may have needs that your spouse does not.
CMS also encourages users to check with their physicians, hospitals, ambulatory centers and even drug stores to be sure the new plan is one that’s compatible with their services. It can save a lot of frustration in the new year.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen a lot of news stories about drug costs. It’s as important now as it’s ever been to choose the drug plans that are affordable and serve the purpose you need. CMS estimates a 13 percent increase in many plans, making it a priority for seniors and the elderly.
As always, we stand ready to advise clients on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Our estate planning lawyers are experts with applying, appealing and ensuring approval for these programs. Give us a call today.