Are you living on a retirement income? You’ve noticed the volatility of the market and the higher costs of consumer goods. In this economy, your Medicare choices are even more critical, and the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is right around the corner, from October 15 through December 7. The good news is that in 2023 you will have many options to meet your healthcare needs and your budget.
If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Part D prescription drug plan, you will receive a booklet in September called the “Annual Notice of Change.” Your plan uses this booklet to notify you of changes to your current plan that will take effect on January 1, 2023. If you find the changes acceptable, you do not need to take any action – your plan will automatically renew; however, it is a good practice to consider market changes each year so that you don’t leave a penny on the table on a fixed income.
How Are Medicare Advantage Plans Different
Medicare Advantage plans differentiate themselves through plan benefits such as copays when you receive services, maximum out-of-pocket protection, and extra perks such as dental, vision, or flex debit cards at no cost to you. For years, insurance companies even introduced new products that compete with existing ones! You could miss money-saving benefits if you choose not to evaluate your options.
Do you have a Medicare Supplement (for example, a Plan G or a Plan N)? These plans’ standard coverage and cost-sharing do not change yearly (except for the premiums you pay). If you qualify, you might consider changing plans when your premium increases to take advantage of lower premiums.
Finally, the Inflation Reduction Act has provisions that will help Medicare beneficiaries with their Part D costs, regardless of if you have a stand-alone Part D plan or if your drug coverage is included in your Medicare Advantage (MAPD) plan. In 2023, this legislation will eliminate your cost-sharing for Part D vaccines (including the shingles vaccine) and limit insulin cost-sharing to only $35 per month. Also, if drug manufacturers increase the prices for Part D prescription drugs faster than inflation, they will have to pay rebates to Medicare. Additional changes will take effect in subsequent years.
The bottom line? Be sure to talk to an independent broker about any new medical concerns or prescription drugs and ask about new plans that may give you all the coverage you need. It could make a significant impact on your wallet!