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Avoid these 5 Medicare Mistakes During AEP

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is open through December 7, which means we’re coming to the end of the time where you can make changes to your 2023 Medicare plan. If you’re wondering if there are better options available to you in 2023 or if you should stick with the same plan, please contact a local Medicare insurance agent as soon as possible for a review.

Medicare agents are here to help kupuna answer their Medicare questions and make sense of all their coverage options – AEP is the best time to sit down for a consultation because you can make changes to your plan(s). Without the guidance of a Medicare agent, it’s easy to make expensive mistakes that could have been avoided.

Avoid these 5 Medicare Mistakes During AEP

Studies show that about 40% of seniors use open enrollment season each year to review their existing plan and their plan options for the upcoming year. The other 60% either don’t think they need to review their plan or don’t know that it’s an option. Some seniors don’t understand the differences between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage and many are flat-out overwhelmed by Medicare options.

Without the support of a caring and knowledgeable Medicare agent, there are 5 common Medicare mistakes that get made. Here are five Medicare mistakes to avoid during open enrollment:

1. Waiting until the last minute to review your current plan and plan options

Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7 each fall but we like to think of the end of September as the unofficial start to the AEP season. That’s because plans send out ANOC letters at the end of September that outline any changes coming to your plan for the following calendar year. Once you receive this letter, we recommend reviewing it immediately and then scheduling an appointment with your Medicare agent to discuss how these changes will affect your out-of-pocket costs and coverage. Waiting until the first week of December to schedule a meeting or to start doing research on Medicare plans is really leaving it too late to make the best choices.

2. Forgetting to check if your doctors will be in-network for 2023

When you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will most likely have in-network providers who accept your insurance. Care received from an out-of-network provider generally costs more, so if you are planning to stay on the same Medicare Advantage plan it’s important to make sure that your primary physicians will still be included in your plan’s network for the following year. Your insurer should have a list of in-network physicians that you can access.

3. Switching to a PPO plan with the assumption that all doctors will take your insurance

A preferred provider organization (PPO) plan is a health insurance plan that allows members to seek services from out-of-network doctors, usually for a higher price. One common mistake is for plan members to assume that they will be able to see any doctor they want because they have a Medicare Advantage PPO. Not all providers accept out-of-network coverage and providers are entitled to turn a patient away if they don’t want to bill a plan that’s out-of-network. For seniors who travel a lot and want the ability to seek health care around the country, Original Medicare with a Medicare Supplement insurance plan may be the best option.

4. Not looking at new prescription drug plan options

Each year, new prescription drug plans become available and existing plans may change what they cover. Whether you receive your prescription drug benefits through Medicare Advantage or a separate Part D plan, it’s really important to review what your current plan will cover next year as well as what other new options are available that may better suit your needs. This way, you won’t stay enrolled in a plan that suddenly no longer covers the medications you need or miss out on a new plan that may cover them for less money.

5. Being taken in by flashy ads

With the Annual Enrollment Period comes a lot of Medicare ads trying to sway seniors to switch to their products. Medicare beneficiaries may be excited to hear about a plan that has no premiums and rush to sign up for it, only to discover later that it doesn’t offer the level of coverage they were used to on their old plan. If you are curious about a plan that you see advertised, it’s a good idea to have a licensed Medicare agent compare it to your current plan so you can decide if switching really makes sense.

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. We are the only insurance agency in Hawaii contracted with EVERY Medicare Advantage plan, which means 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.


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