4 Easy Steps For Choosing the Right Medicare Plan
Whether you are currently enrolled in a Medicare plan, or are looking to get enrolled, understanding your options, and choosing a plan can be time consuming, expensive and confusing.
Here are 4 steps to help you choose and enroll in the perfect Medicare plan that’s right for you.
Step 1: Determine Your Eligibility
The first step to choosing a Medicare plan that is right for you is to determine your eligibility by understanding the various enrollment requirements and periods. The timing of your eligibility to enroll in a plan is dependent on a number of factors including (but no limited to): your age, your current health plan coverage, your location and your specific needs.
In general, there are four enrollment periods every year.
Annual Enrollment Period (AEP/OEP)- Occurs every year on or around October 15th and runs through early December. This is the time when anyone who is eligible for Medicare can opt in to or switch out of a Medicare plan. This goes into effect the January 1st of the following year.
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)- Is the enrollment time frame for individuals who are new to Medicare. It generally occurs three months prior to when an individual will be eligible for Medicare and three months after they are eligible for Medicare.
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)– Is for individuals who have a qualifying exception to enroll in a Medicare Plan outside of IEP and AEP. SEP is determined by factors such as: coming off of an employer or union plan and moving out of your plan’s service area.
General Enrollment Period (GEP)- Is an annual time frame (January 1st-March 31st) wherein individuals who did not sign up for Part A and/or Part B, and who are not eligible for a Special Enrollment Period, can enroll. Those who chose to enroll during General Enrollment Period will begin receiving coverage on July 1st of that year and may be responsible for paying a higher premium cost.
Working with a Medicare agent directly will help you understand if and when you are eligible and coordinate with you to insure you are covered 100% of the time.
Once you have determined your eligibility, you will be able to gather the proper materials necessary to evaluate your options.
Step 2: Understand Your Options
Once you’ve determined your eligibility, you must now spend the necessary time learning about the numerous options you have regarding Original Medicare, Medicare Supplement Plans, Medicare Advantage Plans, and Part D Prescription Drug Plans.
Your lifestyle and need for specific coverage plays a key role in helping you understand the options that fit your needs and having an expert walk you through and explain each plan can help immensely when it comes time to finally enroll in a plan.
Step 3: Enroll in the Perfect Plan
After taking the time to understand the various options and plans available, you are now ready to enroll in a plan that is perfect for you and your needs.
Enrolling in a plan will involve filling out a lot of confusing paperwork, but working with a Medicare agent will help alleviate almost all of the confusion. Not only will they fill out the paperwork with you, but they will process it much faster than you could on your own.
Another advantage of working with an agent is the direct line of communication he or she has with each of the insurance companies. You will never have to wait on the line to speak with a representative. Instead, your agent will liaise with the insurance companies on your behalf, making it quicker and more convenient for you to enroll.
At no additional cost to you, working with a Medicare broker is a great option for enrolling in a Medicare plan.
Step 4: Continued Plan Support
Just because you have enrolled in a Medicare plan, doesn’t mean you are done with understanding and evaluating your options. The Medicare landscape is constantly changing, as is your personal situation.
Over time, your needs may change, and your plan may change. It’s important to know where to find the proper resources to keep you informed and up to date on your Medicare needs both now and in the future.
If you are just starting your Medicare journey and would like help navigating these 4 steps to ensure enrollment in the perfect plan for you, consider contacting Plan Medicare to speak with a licensed Medicare agent today.