It would be nice if Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans could magically morph to meet each person’s changing health care needs or budget over time. You could pick a plan once and be done with it! Alas, that is not the way it works.
You are the authority on what you need in a Medicare plan, and as your health changes over time, so too can your Medicare coverage needs. Medicare Annual Enrollment (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7) is the time to put this idea into action. You can take stock of your health care needs and your Medicare coverage, looking at gaps you may need filled or just finding comfort in seeing there are none. You may decide to stay with the plan you already have. Or, you may decide you need something different or just find a plan you think may fit better.
If you do decide to change your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan, here are three hassle-free ways you may do it.
1. Contact the insurance company directly
Many insurance companies offering Medicare plans have an online enrollment feature on their websites. You can research and compare Medicare Advantage and Part D plans and then enroll if you find a plan you like.
Some websites provide an online chat feature that allows you to exchange messages with a company representative in real time if you have questions or need help.
If you prefer, you may call the company customer service number. A representative can help you enroll over the phone.
2. Contact a licensed insurance agent
Insurance agents offer personalized service in your local area. It’s their business to help you find and enroll in a Medicare plan based on your individual needs.
Some agents are independent and represent multiple Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans. Others are employed by an insurance company to represent only that company’s plans.
It’s important to find an agent you trust who understands your needs and concerns. You may want to get recommendations from trusted sources in your community and then meet with a few agents to help decide who you might want to work with.
3. Contact Medicare
Medicare’s Plan Finder is another online tool that allows you to learn what Medicare Advantage and Part D plans are offered in your area. You may do a general search using only your zip code or a personalized search using your Medicare number and other basic information.
The more information you put into the Plan Finder, the more detailed the results can be. You can enter the medications you take, for example, and get an estimate of your drug costs with each plan.
It may not be magic, but you might be amazed by how easy it is to enroll in a new Medicare plan if you decide to. Remember, Medicare Annual Enrollment is Oct. 15 – Dec. 7.
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