2022 Annual Enrollment Period – Yep, it’s that time of year again! Time for even more celebrity-infused Medicare commercials and endless phone calls. It’s the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period!
Why is this time of year so heavily-advertised? Why are you getting so many phone calls? We don’t like those commercials either, but this time of year is actually very important to every Medicare beneficiary. Let’s talk about why and what you need to do to be prepared for this year’s AEP.
What Is the Annual Enrollment Period?
AEP takes place every year, beginning on October 15 and ending on December 7. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to either their Part C (Medicare Advantage) or Part D prescription drug plan. They can choose to:
- Switch from one Part C plan to another.
- Switch from one Part D plan to another
- Switch from Part C back to Original Medicare (with or without a Part D plan).
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Part C plan.
There are actually a number of other things you can do during this time, but it is especially important for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans.
Why? Because both Part C and Part D plans run on annual contracts. Private insurance carriers who hold those contacts can choose to make changes to their plans, which would go into effect on January 1 of the upcoming year.
Part C changes could include changes to the premium, deductible, maximum out-of-pocket, cost-sharing amounts, benefits, and provider networks. Part D changes could include a change in premium, deductible, cost-sharing amounts, drug formulary, and pharmacy networks. Any of those changes could either positively or negatively impact your coverage and costs. For that reason, it’s crucial that beneficiaries have their plans reviewed.
You can make as many changes to your plans as you want during this time – all the way up to December 7. The last change you make will be the one that sticks for the new year. No changes can be made after December 7.
How to Prepare for AEP
There are a few steps you can take to prepare for the 2022 Annual Enrollment Period. Keep these handy, as you’ll be able to use them every year after this one!
Step 1: Review your Annual Notice of Change
Every year in September, your current Part C or Part C plan will send you an ANOC or Annual Notice of Change. This document outlines any changes that are being made to your plan in the new year. Take time to compare this to your Evidence of Coverage (EOC), which outlines the current coverage of your plan.
Step 2: Consider Your Current Coverage
Are there things you do or don’t like about your current plan? Have you had changes in your health that might require different treatment next year? Make a list of all the things that are important to you so you’ll know what to look for during your plan review.
Step 3: Schedule an Appointment with a Medicare Advisor
Even if you’re satisfied with your plan changes, you should still schedule an appointment with an independent insurance agent. An agent will be able to compare your current plan to others on the market to find out if it would be beneficial to change your plan. Part C and D plan providers always compete with one another to get more business, so you may find even better options in the new year.
Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your appointment. AEP goes quickly, especially since there are holidays towards the end. Appointments fill up fast, and you do not want to miss the opportunity to review your plan.
Call Carolina Senior Benefits and schedule your plan review with one of our Medicare specialists. We’ll review your current plan and talk with you about what you’d like to see in your coverage next year. We may be able to offer solutions that could save you hundreds of dollars in healthcare costs. It certainly doesn’t hurt to look! Schedule your appointment today!