Do I need to make any changes to my Medicare coverage for next year?
If you're currently enrolled in Medicare, you've probably begun receiving information about your coverage. That's because the annual enrollment period for Medicare runs from October 15 through December 7. During this period, you can make changes to your Medicare coverage that will be effective on January 1, 2014. If you're satisfied with your current coverage you don't need to make changes, but you should review your options before you decide to stay with your current plan.
Your Medicare plan sends you two important documents every year that you should review. The first, called the Evidence of Coverage, gives you information about what your plan covers, and its cost. The second, called the Annual Notice of Change, lists changes to your plan for the upcoming year (these will take effect in January). You can use these documents to evaluate your current plan and decide if you need different coverage. If you haven't already gotten one, you should soon receive a copy of Medicare & You 2013, the official government Medicare handbook. It contains detailed information about Medicare that should help you decide if your current plan is right for you.
As you review your coverage, here are a few points to consider:
- Will your current plan cover all the services you need and the health-care providers you need to see next year?
- Does your current plan cost more or less than other options? Consider premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs you pay such as co-payments or coinsurance costs; are any of these costs changing?
- Do you need to join a Medicare drug plan? When comparing plans, consider the cost of drugs under each plan, and make sure the drugs you take will still be covered next year.
- Does your Medigap plan (if you have one) still meet your needs?
If you have questions about Medicare, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227 or TTY 1-877-486-2048) or visit the Medicare website at www.medicare.gov.