Senior citizen woman outside in autumn with her beagle dog
September 18, 2020
Written By:
Susan Houy
Retirement Specialist

Be Ready for Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is right around the corner. Whether you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Stand Alone Prescription Drug Plan this is your opportunity to review your options for the upcoming year.

It starts on October 15th and goes through December 7th each year. Even if your situation has had little changes or no changes at all, it is always best to review your options every year. Being prepared for AEP can ensure you have the best plan for your needs. Here are some tips to being prepared for AEP:

1. Review your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC)

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Stand Alone Prescription Drug Plan, you will receive your ANOC from your carrier by the beginning of October.  It is very important to review your ANOC because it gives details on how your current coverage is changing for the upcoming year. These changes can be drastic which may result in a need to change to a plan that better suits your situation.

2. Make a list of your medications

The prescriptions you take have a huge impact on your Medicare coverage each year. Knowing the name of the prescription (the exact name on your pill bottle), the dosage and the frequency you take your medications will make it easier to compare your options. A lot goes into a prescription plan: premium, deductible, copays, drug tier, if/when you hit the donut hole, which pharmacy you use. Even if your prescriptions have not changed during the year, premiums and formularies can have drastic changes from year to year.

3.  Make a list of what is important to you in your coverage

  • Are your Doctor(s), facilities, pharmacies in network?
  • If you travel, how will your coverage work while you travel?
  • What is the premium, deductibles, copays?
  • What is the Max out of pocket and under what circumstances could you meet it?
  • Do you need referrals, or prior authorization on any medications?
  • Dental, Vision, Hearing benefits?

4. Contact a Medicare Broker like myself

We live, breathe, eat and sleep these plans. We sit on planning committees with all of the carriers and know the plans inside and out. Even if you love the plan you are in, there might be something about another plan that you didn't know. It doesn't hurt or cost anything to speak with a professional about your options. Keep an open mind and set up a time after October 1st to meet.

Susan Houy