2020 has been a challenging year for everyone, with the weeks and months seemingly blending into one another as we work and study from home, continue to social distance, and hope for an end to this pandemic. With so many plans cancelled or postponed, it’s easy to forget that some events will continue as scheduled. Medicare’s Annual Election Period is one of these events, so make sure you mark your calendar so you don’t miss out on the opportunity to make changes to your Medicare healthcare coverage.


Medicare’s AEP, or Annual Election Period, is almost here, so it you’re considering making a change to your healthcare coverage, start thinking about your current and future needs. AEP starts on October 15 and ends December 7. During AEP, you can switch Medicare Advantage plans, switch Prescription Drug Plans, move from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, or drop your MA plan and revert to Original Medicare. For many Medicare recipients, this is the only time of the year when you can make these changes.


Annual Notice of Coverage (ANOC)

Why should you start preparing before AEP even starts? In September, you’ll be receiving your current Medicare plan’s Annual Notice of Coverage (ANOC) that will outline any changes to coverage, cost, or area of service that will go into effect on January 1. Review your ANOC carefully and consider any changes you’ve had in your medical needs or budget over the past several months.


Do a comprehensive review of your recent medical expenses and compile a list of all your current needs, including your list of medications, and medical providers/specialists. Are you comfortable with your current coverage and any changes to the plan that may be ahead? Have you started taking prescription medications that are not covered by your current plan or are stretching your budget uncomfortably? Have been diagnosed with a chronic condition that may affect your healthcare needs in the future? If you find that your needs simply are not being met by your current coverage, you can use the AEP to find a plan that will give you access to the coverage you need at a price you can afford.


Consider your options during AEP

If you are satisfied with your current Medicare plan, you can keep it as long as it remains servicing your area. However, if you’d like to consider your options, you can use the Annual Election Period to compare plans available and find the one that will suit your needs and preferences.

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