7 can’t-miss steps for Medicare annual enrollment

It’s here — your yearly opportunity to make changes to your Medicare coverage. Medicare Annual Enrollment happens every year Oct. 15 through Dec. 7, during which you can review your current plan, compare your coverage options, and make any necessary updates. Any changes you make then go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

Whether you’re enrolling for the first time or not, it can be a lot of information to sift through. To help you stay organized and make sure you check every box, ClearMatch Medicare created the following handy checklist. Follow these steps to find the coverage that works for you.

1. Create a provider list.

Make a list of all your current medical providers, including your primary doctor as well as any specialists or services you use regularly. This should also include the clinics or hospitals you visit most. Listing this information will help you decide which Medicare plan is right for you.

2. List your prescriptions.

Do you take any prescription drugs? If so, write them down. Medicare plans change each year, and it’s possible that your current plan may stop covering your prescriptions. Have your medications top of mind before comparing plans for the coming year.

3. Plan ahead.

If possible, have a conversation with your doctor about what screenings, tests or medications you might need in the coming year. While you can’t see into the future, try to note any healthcare changes you expect over the next 12 months.

4. Review your plan’s Annual Notice of Change and Evidence of Coverage

If you have any coverage outside of Original Medicare (Parts A and B), your plan sends an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC), which you should receive in September. If you don’t receive one, contact your plan. These documents provide details about upcoming changes to your coverage. Compare them to your current and projected medical needs to determine if it’s time to change plans.

5. Review your current Medicare and other insurance coverage.

Think about your existing plan. Is it meeting your needs? Are you OK with the cost? Reflect on what’s working and what’s not — then plan for any changes you need to make for next year.

And if you have other health insurance benefits besides Medicare, talk to your benefits administrator to determine how your Medicare enrollment impacts your additional health coverage.

6. Review Medicare Advantage options.

Many Medicare Advantage plans offer benefits not covered by Original Medicare, such as prescription drug coverage and routine dental and vision care. You may find that a Medicare Advantage plan saves you money thanks to this increased coverage. These plans also have a yearly out-of-pocket maximum, unlike Original Medicare.

7. Confirm your total cost.

The total cost of your Medicare plan may include monthly premiums, deductibles, co-pays and co-insurance. When comparing plans, dig a little deeper for an accurate picture of total costs so you’re prepared for the year and know what you can afford. Keep in mind:

  • For Part D plans, you need to consider the monthly premium, co-pays and the drug formulary. Most insurers use tiered pricing for prescription drugs. If your prescriptions are on one of the upper tiers, your co-pay could be substantial.
  • Most Medicare Advantage and Part D plans with extremely low premiums have higher co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums.

Overwhelmed by all these steps? Don’t worry, free help is just a phone call away. ClearMatch Medicare is dedicated to making Medicare easier to understand so you can choose the plan that’s right for you. Their highly trained and licensed insurance agents are patient and helpful, and if they find you’re already in the right plan, they’ll tell you so.

Call 1-888-441-7382 (TTY:711) for a free Medicare review, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. (ET) or visit ClearMatchMedicare.com, open 24-7.

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