Updated: Sep 2, 2020
We have three months until the Medicare annual enrollment period begins on October 15, so this is a good time to start thinking about your options and coming up with a list of questions that will help ensure you make the best Medicare choices for your needs and budget. During the annual enrollment period, Medicare enrollees can switch their plans between Medicare Advantage plans or to or from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan.
There are plenty of options when it comes to Medicare plans and supplement insurance. Sometimes the plan we are on isn’t the best choice for us anymore but what’s the best way to determine that?
5 helpful questions to answer before Medicare annual enrollment period
Ask yourself these questions before the annual enrollment period. The answers will help you know which options make the most sense for you and whether it’s time to change your coverage.
1. Were you unhappy with your Medicare plan in the last 12 months?
If you were unhappy with your Medicare plan and/or supplemental coverage in the last year, your needs have changed because of a diagnosis of a new illness, or the plan benefits have changed dramatically; it may be time to look for different options. If, on the other hand, you were happy with your plan and nothing major has changed, it likely makes sense to stick with what you have.
2. Is your budget the same as last year?
If your budget has changed since you chose your Medicare plan last year, then it may be time to think about different options. If your budget grew, then you may want to upgrade your coverage but a smaller budget may require a shift to a lower priced plan. Check to see if there is a less expensive plan that would be a good fit. Before making a change, though, it’s important to consider all costs associated with the plan including copays, deductibles and prescription drug benefits.
3. Are you planning to travel a lot next year?
Clearly, there isn’t a lot of traveling happening right now because of COVID-19 but it’s possible that we’ll be able to travel more in 2021. If you are planning to do a lot of traveling then you will want to look for a Medicare advantage plan that offers portable PPOs or stick with original Medicare, that provides nationwide coverage.
4. Do you need dental, vision and hearing coverage?
People of all ages need dental and vision coverage to take care of their teeth and eyes and yet, these services are not covered under original Medicare. Neither are hearing aids, which are commonly needed by those in their senior years. If you want coverage for these services, you will need to find a Medicare Advantage plan that includes them or add supplement insurance options.
5. Do you need a prescription drug plan?
If you use prescription drugs on a regular basis, you will definitely want a prescription drug plan. Original Medicare doesn’t include prescription drug coverage so if you are thinking of moving to this coverage then you will want to look into Medicare Part D. Some Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, but it’s important to make sure that the plan you choose covers the drugs you need.
Our independent insurance agents are dedicated to assisting people on Medicare and those who are ready to transition from employer coverage to personal retirement coverage. We help kupuna understand their benefits options and apply for additional coverage, as needed. Because we represent all the major Medicare Advantage and supplement plans in Hawaii, we are able to offer unbiased advice; all at no cost to our clients.
At PBC our clients are our number one priority and we look forward to getting to know you and your needs. Call us today at (808) 738-4500 to see how we may be of assistance.