Medicare Enrollment: 3 Steps to Ensure Confidence in Your Decision. A Patient Advocate Can Help
Medicare annual enrollment runs every fall and the 2020 enrollment is approaching.
Already on Medicare or enrolling for the very first time, now’s the time to start planning so that you get the coverage that meets your health care needs.
At Whitley Patient Advocates we believe there are 3 steps to decision making.
• Review and summarize healthcare costs for the past 12 months
• Research available plans
• Set up an appointment with an Insurance agent
Do you need a Patient Advocate?
Patient Advocates focus on being your guide and empowering you to make the best decisions possible. We are experts in information gathering, and ensure you quickly have the information you need.
At Whitley Patient Advocates we can take the stress out of researching plans, summarizing your healthcare expenses and finding you an agent that’s trustworthy so you can have peace of mind that you will make your enrollment deadline and feel confident in the coverage you choose.
Why Review and Summarize Your Past Years Health Costs?
Understanding what services, you used and the money you spent will prepare you for what your current healthcare needs are.
Be sure your bills are itemized and summarize all your co-pay provider visits, prescription co-pays, premiums, hospitalization co-pays, etc. The more accurate your review and summary are the more prepared you are.
Then answer these questions.
Does my current plan cover my needs?
Is there a prescription that wasn’t covered?
Is there a doctor I want to see that’s not in my network?
Is my primary care physician in the network and am I satisfied with the practice or would I like to switch?
The answers to these questions will help you determine if you want to stay with what coverage you have or if you want to change.
Most Importantly pay special attention to the plans and whether your premiums or co-pays change, most likely it’s important for you to choose the most cost-effective plan.
What Should You or Your Patient Advocate Research?
Every year there are new Medicare D (Prescription Drug Plans) and Medicare Advantage Plans.
Be prepared; note if there will be changes in coverage or if new plans will be available, the coverage that will be provided and if there are cost saving resources available to you.
Check Medicare.gov https://www.medicare.gov this site will list the most current changes in plans. As Prescription Drug Plans change, be sure you’re looking for the following year plans (2020) and have the most up to date information as you want to be closer to the enrollment date.
Annual Notice of Change letters will be sent to you in September. Be sure you review your letter if you are already enrolled in Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage. This letter should reveal to you any upcoming changes in co-pays, premiums or if they may drop medications that may be important to you.
There may be cost savings resources as each state has federally funded programs to help pay premiums for the original Medicare, https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/4396 you may be eligible for some of these programs, https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/get-help-paying-costs/medicare-savings-programs.
Why Make an Appointment with an Insurance Agent?
An independent agent will be your next step to be sure you’re getting the most information possible about the available plans.
Firstly, bring your advocate with you if you are worried about understanding the information they will provide or being pressured into choosing a plan you’re unsure of.
Secondly, be sure that you feel they are trustworthy, making sure they are licensed and non-biased. Researching client’s reviews and recommendations from friends will go a long way in helping you find a reliable agent.
You should be wary of working with an insurance company’s own agent as they are going to only give you information on their own carriers plans.
Are you Prepared for Medicare Enrollment?
Do you have a plan to determine if your coverage from this year will cover you next year?
It’s essential that you know as much about the current coverage you have and what you’ll need for next year.
Whenever in doubt or you feel that you want an unbiased medically licensed individual to review with you the choices you’ve made, Whitley Patient Advocates can help