Are you paying too much for your Medicare supplement? This is one of the biggest questions our Medicare clients ask us. The answer is usually a resounding “yes.” The same goes for those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. In this article (and in the below video interview), we’ll discuss when it’s time to change your Medigap or Medicare Advantage plans and when you are permitted to do so.
If you have specific questions about your plan, please give our Memphis Medicare consultants a call at 901-460-7220. Our main office is located in Memphis, Tn, and we provide Medicare consulting services nationwide. We look forward to helping you navigate your healthcare needs.
How to Know You’re Paying Too Much for Your Plan
Typically, if you’ve been on the same plan for years without any updates to it, you’re likely paying more for your Medicare Supplement than you need to be paying. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’re not safe from overpaying – with no updates to your plan, you may be spending way too much. Unfortunately, Medicare recipients won’t know they are in the wrong plan until it’s too late. You may show up at your pharmacy one day to find out that your medications are no longer covered. This is when it’s time to look for another plan.
What’s the difference between a Medicare supplement plan and a Medicare Advantage plan? Click here to read our blog on the topic.
Signs It’s Time to Update Your Plan
Many people don’t know that they should regularly check their Medicare supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans. Some common signs it’s time to update your supplement or Medicare Advantage plan include:
It’s been longer than a year since you checked your plan
Your medications are no longer on your plan's formulary
Your medications have changed
Your preferred provider(s) are no longer in your network
The pharmacy included in your plan’s network is no longer convenient for you
You’re paying a lot of money for premiums and other costs
You’re paying for benefits you don’t need
You want to change your insurance company
You need other types of benefits
You want a policy that is less costly
How Often Should I Check My Plan?
Our Medicare experts recommend that you check your plan yearly. At Delta Medicare Benefits Group, we automatically do that for our clients. If we find you should be in a different plan based on your costs, medication changes, etc, we’ll call you and let you know. If you manage your benefits yourself or you use another company to do so, make sure you’re checking in yearly. Most Medicare advisors don’t check plans, so be sure to give them a call to ensure you’re not overpaying.
When Can I Change My Plan?
Often, Medicare recipients neglect to review their plans because the periods and rules for which you can change your plan can be confusing. Here’s when you can change your plan, depending on if you’re enrolled in a Medigap policy or Medicare Advantage plan.
Changing Your Medicare Advantage Plan
There are two times a year you can make updates to your Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C): during Medicare Annual Enrollment or Medicare Open Enrollment. Medicare Annual Enrollment is from October 15 to December 7 every year. Medicare Open Enrollment starts January 1 to March 31 every year. During Annual Enrollment (October 15 - December 7), you can make the following updates to your Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare drug coverage:
Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage
Switch from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare
Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
Drop or add your drug coverage
Join a Medicare drug plan
Note that Medicare Annual Enrollment is for Medicare Advantage and drug plans only.
During Open Enrollment (January 1 - March 31), you can make the following changes:
Switch from an Original Medicare plan to a Medicare Advantage plan
Join a drug plan if you are enrolled in Original Medicare
Switch your Medicare drug plans if you are in Original Medicare
To learn how Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage differ, please read our blog and watch our video on the subject by clicking this link.
Changing Your Medicare Supplement Plan
You can apply to change your Medigap policy at any time of year. However, depending on your state and how long you’ve been enrolled in Part B, you may have to answer various health questions before your policy can be approved. Depending on your answers, your application may be denied. Note that when you first enroll in Medicare Part B, you have a one-time, six-month window in which you can enroll in a Medigap Supplement without answering medical questions. Typically, when that initial six-month window expires, it’s gone forever. Following this period, if you’d like to change your Medigap policy, in most states, you will have to answer health questions. That’s why it’s important that you take advantage of this initial six-month period.
After enrollment into a Medigap policy, you don’t have to wait for any period of time before you can change your policy. However, if you’re outside of your 6-month guaranteed coverage window, you may have to answer underwriting questions.
Call Our Medicare Advisors If You Have Questions
Medicare can be downright confusing. If you have questions, our team is always here for you. You can reach us by calling 901-460-7220, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by filling out our contact form on this page.
If you need a thorough Medicare overview, check out our free online Medicare seminar at this link.
You can also attend a live seminar – follow this page for upcoming live seminar information.
We look forward to speaking with you!