It’s finally here again: Medicare Open Enrollment or more precisely, the Annual Election Period (AEP). Every year, from October 15th to December 7th, Medicare eligible folks are able to do pretty much anything they want with their coverage. Some of my previous columns have addressed many of the details of those options but, simply put, you can add, drop or change virtually any plan and change to or from any insurance company.
Piece of cake right? Wrong! The reason is, many folks do not want to relive the information overload they experienced when first becoming eligible. Remembering the volume of phone calls, emails and mountains of regular mail would understandably send anyone running for cover!
Please know, this time will be different. First of all, you now have had some time to experience what the plan you originally selected, can or cannot do for you. Were you happy with the premium? Were all your doctors in the network? Were all your prescriptions covered at a reasonable cost? Did you get any of the extra benefits like Dental, Vision, Hearing, Tele-Health, At Home Care, Caregiver Support or Over-the-Counter cash allowances?
If the answer to any of these is no, then now is the time for you to get answers, so you can make the correct choices for 2024.
The problem for many folks becomes, where can they get this information without re-igniting the aforementioned onslaught? The answer – YOU need to initiate contact. That means calling your current agent or broker and/or finding other sources of information.
Calling Joe Namath will likely cause that onslaught to re-ignite as the company he represents simply gets you to call so they can SELL your information to any and all agents around the country willing to pay to get access to you. In fact, many of these types of advertisements do exactly the same thing. Call them all and get ready to buy the jumbo size mailbox and voicemail box!
Instead, look for advertising from local folks you know will be able to get you what you are looking for. They WON’T SELL your information to strangers. This simple tip will allow you to rest assured that you will not be overwhelmed again.
Once you have decided which person or place to call, do it. But, be ready to answer a few questions about what you currently have, what you are paying (some plans can be as little as $0 per month!) and what it is you would like to improve or change with a new plan. Also, make sure you are ready to answer questions about your doctors and prescriptions, so you can make sure what you are considering changing to will provide you with all you expect. You are looking for no surprises; so, also have a few questions of your own!
The bottom-line message is this; be not afraid. This time of year (AEP) is designed to help you make improvements, not make you relive the trials and tribulations of your initial enrollment.
Reach out and look to how you can possibly make things better for you. Your health may change from year to year, but your need for excellent health insurance remains a constant.
Follow these simple steps and make 2023 your best health insurance year yet!
Greg Durette is a qualified, licensed agent with Florida Health Connector, based in Niceville, and providing Medicare throughout the state. He has been in the insurance industry for over 40 years and can be reached at his office at (850) 842-2400 or his mobile at (978) 509-2941.