2021 Medicare Questions and Answers:

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Questions and Answers:

I have found that there are a lot of questions that come up about Medicare Election Periods. Below are some of those questions and answers that may help you. As always, I encourage that we do a personal review of your individual needs. Occasionally I lose a client to another agent who is new to selling Medicare health insurance plans or is inexperienced. Typically, the following year that client is back asking me to fix mistakes. This letter is an attempt to share a little of what I have learned after 12 years of helping people with their Medicare health insurance options.  

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Do I have to re-enroll every fall to keep my coverage?

The short answer is NO! If you are happy with your coverage you do not need to do anything. You are already automatically enrolled for 2021.

What can I accomplish during the Annual Election Period?

The Annual Election Period runs from October 15th, to December 7th. During this time, you can: Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan, change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare, switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan, switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that does not offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage, switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does not offer drug coverage, join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan or drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

What if I want to change my Medicare Advantage or Part D plan after December 7th?

Although the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period ends December 7th, there are other times you may change your plan. From January 1st until March 31st you can: Change your plan if you are in a Medicare Advantage plan (with or without drug coverage), you can switch to another Medicare Advantage plan (with or without drug coverage).You can drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare, you will also be able to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. You cannot switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, join a Medicare prescription drug plan if you are in Original Medicare, or switch from one Medicare prescription drug plan to another if you are in Original Medicare.

Why is my drug plan deductible so high?

At the time of this writing, drug plan deductibles range from $0 to $435. They will likely be slightly higher for 2021. The reason everyone does not get a $0 deductible is because the government allows each plan to determine how much of the drug deductible costs they will pass on to their members. This is another reason why a yearly review of your plan is so important. In many areas there are dozens of plan options with varying Part D deductibles. 

Why are my insulin prescriptions so expensive?

Insulin costs have risen drastically over the last few years. So much so that it has even become a political topic. In 2021 there is some relief coming. There will be plans that can cap your costs throughout the year. However, there may or may not be a plan that has these caps in your area. When we review a plan, we look at many factors, with drug coverage being one of the main areas. If you take insulin drugs, make sure and reach out to me so we can discuss these exciting options. 

What is the difference between a Medicare Supplement and Medicare Advantage?

Medicare Supplement plans have many pros and cons! One pro is that because Medicare is your primary insurance it allows you to go to any provider that accepts Original Medicare, of which there are many. Also, you know that anything that Medicare covers, your supplement will cover as well. A couple of cons are that Medicare supplement premiums can be expensive, and they do not cover Part D prescription drug coverage. For that, you must sign up for a separate Part D plan. Also, they only cover what Medicare covers.

Medicare Advantage also has pros and cons, one con can be network limitations another is that you may have co-pays or co-insurance amounts that you are responsible for. Some of the pros are low premiums, they have to cover everything that Medicare covers, they can include Part D prescription drug coverage and many offer extra benefits such as dental, vision, hearing, gym membership, over the counter items, etc.…

Should I shop my Medicare supplement plan during the Annual Enrollment Period?

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period or AEP has nothing to do with Medicare Supplement plan shopping. You can shop Medicare Supplement plans throughout the year. However, we take the approach that there is no time like the present to see if you have the best rate on your plan. 

What is the difference between Plan F and Plan G Medicare supplement plans?

This question comes up a lot because people who became eligible for Medicare after January 1st, 2020 can no longer buy Plan F. Thankfully Plan G is almost identical to Plan F, with one exception. On Plan G you are responsible for the one time a year Part B deductible that is set by Medicare. At the time of this writing that deductible is $198. 

***Let me know if you have family or friends that might benefit from this information. I will happily mail or email you copies so you can pass it on.***