Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) begins October 15 and continues through December 7. During that time, a Medicare beneficiary should review their coverages and determine whether any changes are needed for next year. It is ALWAYS in your best interest to have an annual review.
Coverage options include Medicare Supplements, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Cost Plans. The choices continue to grow as the number of people age 65 and over increases. There will be new insurance companies and new products available in Nebraska for the first time in 2022.
If you have health benefits offered by an employer, you can keep the employer benefits for as long as you or your spouse are actively employed AND the employer coverage meets the “creditable coverage” test of Medicare. The decision on when to make the change to Medicare is often based on both the costs and the benefits. We are happy to help you evaluate your options.
Important to Know about Medicare Advantage Plans
One of our most frequently asked questions concerns Medicare Advantage plans. Television and mailboxes are full of advertising encouraging Medicare-eligible individuals to “get all that they are entitled to”. Medicare Advantage plans are a great option for some, but not all, people. It is true that these plans have a very low premium, some are $0. It is also true that most plans include benefits for vision, dental, hearing, gym memberships and over-the-counter medications. However, it is not free. The premium is low, but the policyholder will pay a copay or a percentage of cost for each medical service that is used.
These plans have a maximum out-of-pocket that represents the most that would be paid for medical services. The maximum ranges from about $3,900 to $6,500 on plans that are available in Nebraska in 2021. Copays are also charged for prescription medications. Dental, vision, and hearing benefits include an annual exam at no charge, but you will still pay a portion of the cost for dental work, eye wear, and hearing aids. Much of this advertising falsely leads people to believe that it is all free. That is simply not the case except for those individuals who are very low income. You are also required to use in-network doctors and hospitals to receive the best benefits. Healthier individuals and those with more tolerance for risk are good candidates for a Medicare Advantage plan. Those with chronic health conditions are not. As we help our clients compare the options available, we identify the expected costs and benefits of each plan so that a well-informed decision can be made. Your Medicare decisions are extremely important. The team at ComPro will help you evaluate your options.
By Chris McPike, Location Manager/Agent, ComPro