By KELLY HOKYO

As you might already know, the Medicare annual election period (open enrollment) will begin on Oct. 15 and run through Dec. 7. Since this is your opportunity to review your current plan and make any necessary changes for next year, it’s time to get ready. Here’s what you need to do as Medicare AEP approaches.

Gather everything you will need. You will need your plan identification card, along with the card for your prescription plan or any other supplementary plans, so that you have your Medicare ID number handy.

Hopefully you’ve kept track of your out-of-pocket medical expenses from the past year, and can easily access those via receipts, credit card statements, or monthly statements from your plan administrator. Gather those into a stack and review them to assess whether you feel comfortable with your spending or would prefer to try and lower expenses.

Check your Annual Notice of Change. Your plan administrator should send you an Annual Notice of Change, which details any upcoming changes to your current plan. If you don’t elect to switch plans, you will be automatically enrolled into the same one.

Contact your physicians and preferred facilities. You want to ensure that they plan to remain in your plan’s network. If you’re on Original Medicare, you can use any doctor or facility that accepts Medicare. But those on Advantage plans are subject to networks of providers that can sometimes change.

Make a list of your current prescription medications. This information will help you as you examine the drug formularies among different Part D plans or Advantage plans that include prescription coverage. The plan formulary will inform you of which medications are covered (and yes, this can change from one year to the next as well).

Get help. These tasks will get you started toward evaluating satisfaction with your current plan. But comparing different plans can feel overwhelming. Give us a call so that we can help you sort through your options, and we will help you identify a plan that most closely suits your needs.

Remember, Medicare AEP starts on Oct. 15. Begin to address the above tasks now, so that you’re prepared to make an informed decision.

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I am a local, licensed and trained independent insurance agent. I am certified with many top Medicare Advantage, Prescription Drug and Medicare Supplement insurance plan carriers. I represent most major companies with a Medicare contract and am qualified to answer any questions you may have. hello@hokyoinsurance.com  www.hokyoinsurance.com

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