Medicare Open Enrollment 2019. Shop Medicare supplement plans and Part D. New, lower Medigap premiums. Are higher drug costs coming in 2019?
Who is invited? Who should stay home?
Can anyone help navigate the Medicare maze?
Medicare Open Enrollment 2019
So much information. So much confusion. Medicare Open Enrollment is not for everyone, and certainly not for the faint of heat.
If you think you already have all the answers, don’t read this post. If you believe Medicare open enrollment is for everyone you will probably learn something.
Medicare AEP is not a casual stroll. For most people, this is the only time you can change your Part D drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan.
Make a mistake and you will have to live with that decision for a year.
Before you enter the annual election period, do this.
- Make a list of all doctors including name, address, phone.
- List all area hospitals, especially the ones you have used.
- Make a list of all medications including dosage, refills, prescribing doctor and pharmacy.
Be aware of the donut hole and look for ways to avoid that trap. Make use of generics and off plan purchases.
Look for FDA approved generics and ask your doctor before making a change.
Part D Jungle
If renewing, get your drug list ID and password date from your last drug plan finder.
If renewing, study your ANOC for changes.
Use Medicare.gov for reviewing Advantage and drug plan options.
Avoid using Medicare.gov for PDP comparisons prior to October 25.
Review Medicare Supplement Options
Medicare.gov and the GA DOI site is essentially useless when comparing Medicare supplement options.
Most Medigap quote engines only list a handful of options and rarely have plans with the best value
Many quoting sites will sell your information to numerous agents; some don’t provide instant quotes
Never put anything on auto-renew unless you like unpleasant surprises.
Understand the Differences
Both Medigap and Advantage plans cover the same types of medical treatment, but what you pay out of pocket for your care, and where you receive your care, is very different.
Advantage plans are managed care plans. Some are PPO, some are HMO. In 2018 about half the plans are HMO with the balance being PPO.
If you receive non-emergency out of network care under a PPO you may have higher copay’s and deductibles. Your max OOP may also be higher. Some plans do not cap out of network charges.
Non-emergency out of network care charges may be denied if you have an HMO.
Medicare Advantage Considerations and Cancer
In 2018 most Advantage plans issued in Georgia limit your out of pocket for approved in network health care expenses to $6700.
The American Cancer Society tells us that more than half the 1.4 million new cancer diagnoses occur in people age 65 and older. Roughly 20% of retiree deaths are a result of cancer. Medicare pays for almost half of the $74 billion spent on cancer treatment. The elderly account for 70% of cancer deaths each year.
Some cancer centers, such as Mayo Clinic and MD Anderson do not participate in Medicare Advantage plans.
Not all cancer responds to chemotherapy, but 80% of cancers are treated with chemo. Those treatments occur in an outpatient setting and are covered under Medicare Part B.
Chemotherapy drugs administered in a doctor’s office or clinic normally fall under Part B. Medication from a retail pharmacy or by mail fall under your PDP.
This is why most of us chose a Medicare supplement plan in 2018. Bob Vineyard, independent Medicare insurance broker in Georgia, can explain your Georgia Medicare insurance options and will allow you to decide.
We represent several carriers including Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross, Humana and more.
According to the Mayo clinic, “new cancer treatments are routinely priced at over $100,000 per year of treatment.”
Understand how Medicare works. Open enrollment only comes around once a year. Take advantage of this time to review all your options.
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How does Medicare work? Open enrollment 2018