No matter how well you plan your retirement budget, you know that surprises can happen. Enrolling in the right Medicare plan could help you to better manage those surprises with regard to your out-of-pocket medical spending. But still, medical bills are often a significant part of a retiree’s budget.
Luckily, you aren’t stuck with the plan that you choose when you turn 65. Each year, Medicare offers several opportunities to enroll in a different plan or additional plans, if you decide that you need more help managing your spending on healthcare.
Medicare’s Annual Election Period. Each fall, you can make changes to any Medicare plan from October 15 to December 7. During this time you can drop your old plan, enroll in a new one, and add certain types of supplemental insurance.
Your plan administrator will send you an Annual Notice of Change just before the Annual Election Period begins. This notice will detail upcoming changes to your plan, such as changes to the network or your prescription plan’s formulary (list of covered drugs). Review this notice so that you can evaluate whether your current plan still suits you.
Even if your plan seems acceptable, it’s a good idea to shop around anyway. New Medicare plans are added each year, and you could locate an even better deal.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. What happens when the Annual Election Period closes, but you realize that your Medicare Advantage plan isn’t really the best fit for you? Luckily, from January 1 to March 31 you will have a second chance to make changes to any Advantage plan. You can also drop your Medicare Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare during this time.
Medicare Special Enrollment Period. Certain life changes, such as a move, can qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period at any time during the year. If you experience a change in your circumstances and want or need to change your Medicare plan, contact your insurance broker to discuss your options.
And of course, if at any time your retirement budget concerns you, we are here to help. Schedule an appointment with us, and we will review the opportunities available to you.