It’s January 13th, are the Christmas lights still dangling outside your house blowing in the frosty wind? Have you taken down your tree or just left it up because it just looks pretty, or you refuse to let your favorite holiday pass. Or maybe it’s still up because you treat it like you treated this past Annual Enrollment Period saying to yourself “I’ll get to it, I’ll get to it,” and then ask yourself “am I too late?”
I know there are still a lot of people who are disappointed they missed the December 7th deadline to investigate other insurance coverage. I get those late phone calls every year and explain you can still do something about it.
Yes, there is still time if you want out of your Medicare Advantage plan. Most people don’t realize that there is another enrollment period called “The Medicare Disenrollment Period (MADP) which lasts from January 1st through February 14th of each year.
During the MADP, a beneficiary can switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to traditional Medicare. The new MADP also provides an opportunity to enroll in a Part D drug plan for those who have not already done so.
So, we just finished the Annual Enrollment Period which went from October 15th thru December 7th, and we were busy and quite exhausted by the end of it; but after a few weeks off during the holidays, our BGA agents are now well rested and ready to assist you!
Most folks ask, “what can I do?” If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan with a Part D plan attached, you can leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare which covers Parts A & B and sign up for an independent drug plan. If you just have an Medicare Advantage plan without drug coverage, you can still switch to original Medicare but without adding drug coverage.
The questions you need to ask yourself are:
Do I like having all these co-pays in my plan?
Would it be beneficial to me to choose the drug plan of my choice?
Am I comfortable with this $6700 out of pocket maximum?
Is it annoying to always need referrals when I need to see a specialist?
Does it scare me that all Advantage plans cover only 80% specialty drugs, which could put me in the poor house if I’m ever diagnosed with cancer?
There are a lot more concerns, and they can be answered by sitting down with a BGA Insurance Group agent.
Remember one thing, however, just because you switch back to original Medicare does not mean you are automatically accepted by a Medigap plan (Medicare supplement). You still need to qualify your health by answering some questions relating to your health history. Again, call your BGA agent because they are appointed with all the Medigap plans in your area to help you find acceptance at the best rate. Also, don’t be shy about asking about getting a household discount, something that an Advantage plan will not provide you.
We can provide you a quote with a very affordable rate from Plans A thru F, but I feel Plan F, G, or N will provide you with the most comprehensive coverage. If you’re coming off an Advantage plan, you will probably find that Plan N will be the least expensive and may help with your decision making.
Regarding a drug plan, there are over 40 to choose from, and that is where you will want to utilize a BGA agent’s skill and education. You can easily make a mistake and cost yourself a lot of money choosing the wrong plan. Part of BGA’s free service is going over your scripts and matching them up with the most affordable plan to help you save your bank account.
I mentioned earlier about cancer drugs and how they are only covered under your Advantage plan at only 80%. As I sit here writing this blog I just received a phone call from a client who I sold an Independence Blue Cross HMO plan two years ago, and she wants me to come over next week to go over a Cancer Indemnity plan that BGA Insurance Group also offers. The reason I bring this up is that you may have other needs and you can still purchase additional insurance to cover gaps you may have in your coverage.
We are nearing the middle of January if this is something you have thought about, reach out now! It’s not too late to assist you in the plan of your choice. Even if you are fine where you are, please pass this information along to your friends. I’m pretty sure you know someone who has complained about their Medicare insurance. Also, remember that we provide an old-fashioned service, we will come to you.
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Joe Bachmeier is a co-founder of BGA Insurance Group