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3 Questions to Ask Ahead of Medicare’s Annual Election Period

Posted by Wendell Woodson, September 7, 2021

As the opening of the Medicare Annual Election Period approaches on October 15, it’s time to begin assessing your current Medicare plan. Decide whether you feel satisfied with it and investigate whether another plan might work better for you. This is a complex decision that will affect your healthcare and finances for the following year, so take the time to ask yourself these three questions.

How satisfied do I feel with my plan’s drug coverage? Are your preferred prescription drugs covered under your Advantage plan’s formulary, and will they continue to be over the next year? Remember, plans can and do change their coverage from one year to the next, so pay close attention to any information you receive from your provider.

Are you covered by Original Medicare and perhaps need to add a Part D (prescription) plan? Assess your out-of-pocket expenses over the past year and then take a look at what a Part D plan has to offer. Or, you might prefer to switch to an Advantage plan, as many of those already include prescription drug coverage.

Is my doctor included within my plan’s network? If you’re enrolled in an Advantage plan, check to be sure your preferred doctor and facilities will continue to be covered under that plan’s network.

If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, you can seek care from any provider that accepts Medicare patients. But if you want to switch to an Advantage plan, make sure to investigate the plan’s network offerings.

How much can I afford to spend on healthcare? As you have discovered, Medicare doesn’t offer 100 percent healthcare coverage. You will encounter out-of-pocket expenses for premiums, deductibles, and co-pays.

Look back at the past year and evaluate your healthcare spending. Then, investigate alternative Medicare plan options to determine if another plan might be a better fit for your budget.

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