Submitted by Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW).
This year’s Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which begins October 15, is critical to ensure Washington’s 1.4 million Medicare beneficiaries have access to affordable care. Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW) is here to answer the top questions that are plaguing local Medicare beneficiaries.
1. I just received an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letter for my Medicare coverage; what do I do now?
An Annual Notice of Change letter is a document sent by your current Medicare plan provider listing any plan coverage, service area or cost changes that will go into effect the following year. Whether you are part of Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplemental, or another Medicare plan, the letter is sent out to all Medicare beneficiaries every season about two weeks prior to the beginning of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Medicare recommends that beneficiaries use this two-week period to conduct research and learn about changes to plan ahead of enrollment opening on October 15. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to a Medicare representative in your area. We are always here to answer your questions!
2. As I review all of my Medicare paperwork, what should I pay the closest attention to?
Carefully review your annual notice of change and take note of changes to your benefits and premiums. Check to see if your premiums have increased – if your plan premiums have gone up, check your budget to make sure the plan will work for you. Then, review any benefit changes to make sure that all of your needs will be met. For example, Medicare generally doesn’t cover dental benefits, but some Medicare Advantage plans, like Community Health Plan of Washington Medicare Advantage, do cover preventative dental so make a list of what you would like and research plans that meet your specific needs!
3. What are the different types of Medicare plans I should research?
There are many great Medicare plans out there, and the benefits and premiums differentiate the various plans. Apart from original Medicare, there are Medicare Advantage, Zero Cost and Supplemental plans. Supplemental plans are optional, and you will not be penalized for not signing up for a supplemental plan. If you cannot afford or don’t want to commit to a supplemental plan, we recommend researching Medicare Advantage plans which operate the same way as the Medicare original plan but with enhanced benefits. If you want coverage to protect your health, but do not get sick often, it could be worth exploring a Zero Cost plan.
4. If I already like the plan I am on and do not want to change it, do I need to fill out a new application?
No action needed! While we recommend reviewing your plan for any changes, your plan will auto-renew in January 2022 if you do not take action before then.
5. What is the timeframe of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period starts October 15 and ends on December 7. That said, Medicare plans announced their new benefits and changes to their plan on October 1, which gives beneficiaries two weeks to review and compare plans before they are able to actually make any changes on October 15.
6. I am not eligible for Medicare but my parent(s) need my assistance enrolling in a new Medicare plan. How can I help my parent(s)?
You can help your parent(s) by doing some research in advance or visiting a designated Medicare representative at your parents’ health plan. While your parent(s) do have to go through the enrollment process themselves, we are happy to help you help them navigate the system.