When I Change My Medicare Plan?

May 1, 2023


Medicare Open Enrollment is Coming Soon…When is the last time you had a plan review?

October 15th – December 7th

When is the last time you had a plan review?  If you signed up for Medicare years ago and have never reviewed your plan since then, then I suggest you do.  You could be spending more money than you need to.  Just the drug plan alone could save you money by switching plans.  Any changes you make during this Annual Enrollment period, will be effective on January 1, 2023.  Carriers will start revealing their changes and new plans as early as October 1st.  Be on the lookout for what changes your plan will have.  This comes in the form of a letter called:

Annual Notice of Change (ANOC letter)

The ANOC includes any changes in coverage, costs, or service area that will be effective in January. Review any changes to decide whether the plan will continue to meet your needs in the next year.  If you don’t get this important document, contact your plan.

If your medication or health needs have changed through the year, you might find that the current plan you’re on isn’t meeting your needs.  This would be the time to change that plan.  If you feel overwhelmed by the choices available or even how to decide which plan to move to, it’s best to seek out help to determine which plan is best suited for your needs.

This is an important time to review your Medicare Advantage plan also, to be sure it is still the best plan for you.  These plans change from year to year, some plans go away, new plans come, the drugs that are covered can change, etc.  In California we have many Medicare Advantage plans available, which consist of HMO plans and some PPO plans.  You might find that one of these plans could save you quite a bit of money, so you should review them also.

If you’re on a Medicare Supplement plan, this doesn’t ever change for you, or at least the benefits don’t.  The premium typically goes up each year, as you age and if they have an increase in your plan.  If you feel like you’re paying too much, you might want to do a plan review.  Did you know there is a plan G now, that can save you money versus plan F?  Many folks feel overwhelmed with all these choices and are confused on what to do or how to research plans.  We hear this all the time, that they just don’t like dealing with insurance.  Not to worry, you’re not alone.  You don’t necessarily have to do anything, however, this is the time to analyze your plan, especially your drug plan, to be sure your medications are covered well.

Individual Open Enrollment period is also coming. As of the time of this writing, California hasn’t announced their open enrollment dates as yet.  For Individuals, typically if you want to change your plan for a Jan 1, 2023 effective date, you will need to make your plan change by Dec 15th.  The Individual market also has special reasons during the year which allow you to make immediate changes.  Some reasons are losing your job, moving, change in income, etc.

For the Individual market, you can purchase your coverage direct from the insurance company or through Covered California. You can do either through an Insurance Agent who can help you navigate this difficult task.  A lot of people assume you have to buy your coverage through Covered CA, but that is not true.  We only place clients through Covered CA if they get financial assistance or outside of open enrollment when a carrier requires us to do so for a specific situation.

There is no cost to you to use an agent.  With inflation going up and all of us experiencing higher costs across the board, insurance is no exception and some costs will go up in 2023.  We, on the other hand, don’t charge you to get a consultation. We are independent agents that will analyze your plan and try to find the best suited plan for you.  For Medicare folks, we start by reviewing your medications utilizing a sophisticated software program that will check your medications against all plans.  There are other things to consider, like which pharmacy you use, then we see how your prescription drugs are covered at different pharmacies.  This can be daunting from some people to do this for themselves.  If this is you, then you should contact an agent to help you. We can help put your mind at ease and our services are always free.  If you’d like our help, you can email us at support@mcinsurance.com or call our office (408-848-2271) to schedule a free consultation.

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