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Medicare’s AEP- Your Yearly Savings Opportunity

Posted October 03, 2012 in Advice Column, Johnston

It is prudent for any insurance policyholder to meet with his or her agent on a regular basis to conduct what is referred to as a Cost and Coverage (C&C) review.

This allows you to discuss any changes relevant to your coverage and for your agent to suggest any revisions that will better meet your current needs and/or that might save you money. This is always a good idea, but even more so given our current economic environment!

For Medicare beneficiaries the once-a-year opportunity is fast approaching. Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP) runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this timeframe you have an “open enrollment” into a different Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), or a prescription drug plan (Part D) for the next calendar year.

So who does this really affect? Only those wishing to know whether a different health plan or a new prescription plan would be beneficial. If you are in a group plan (through a former employer), or have a Medicare Supplement (or Medigap plan) you do not need to do anything, except those covered by a Medigap plan should still review their prescription drug needs.

Even if your prescriptions have not changed over the past year, most of the 48 or so Part D Providers will change some or all of the following: their list of formularies (prescription drugs that plan covers), premiums, deductibles, co-pays/co-insurance and their pharmacy network.

Some of these changes allowed during AEP include switching from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan (MA or MAPD)  or switching from a MA/MAPD back to original Medicare or to a different MA/MAPD or enroll in a new Part D plan.

If you miss the AEP, please know that it may not be your only chance to make changes to your Medicare coverage. Medigap plans allow changes any time during that year where a change is warranted, subject to your health qualifying.

There is also a newer Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period annually, as well as possible special enrollments you may qualify for based on changes by plan providers, or in your new permanent residence, or upon you qualifying for any low-income subsidies.

The site offers a wealth of best practices, and FAQs. To know you’re getting the absolute best coverage, at the lowest rates, and just to have Medicare explained in plain language – see my ad to the right and feel free to call today to set up a personal retirement C& C review, with no obligation. You’ll love the annual savings — for years to come.

Information provided by Dana Reddick, insurance agent, Bankers Life & Casualty, (515) 306-2119.

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