Why You Should Review Your Medicare Policy Annually

School of Social Security & Medicare

Retirees are reviewing their Medicare policy with a financial advisor.

Health care costs can strain your budget in retirement. In fact, Fidelity estimates that a typical retired couple will need about $315,000 to cover their medical expenses. Considering these high costs, you should do everything you can to manage healthcare expenses. This begins with ensuring that you have the right Medicare coverage.

The costs and coverage of your Medicare supplement or Medicare Advantage Plan can change from year to year. That’s why it is important to review your plan annually to ensure it provides the coverage you need at the lowest possible cost.

Review Your Medicare Plan Annually for Important Changes

During Medicare open enrollment – from October 15 to December 7 – you can make changes to your coverage for the following year. If you don’t make changes to your plan during open enrollment, you will continue with your current plan.

Prior to open enrollment, your provider will send you documentation detailing any changes to coverage and costs for the following year. You should review this information carefully, paying especially close attention to changes in your provider networks and drug coverage.

Your Doctor Visit Coverage and Costs Could Have Changed

If you have a Medicare Select plan or a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be subject to a list of “in-network” and “out-of-network” doctors. These lists can change each year depending on negotiations between medical providers and insurance companies.

If a preferred doctor leaves your plan’s network, you could incur additional costs each time you visit them. In some cases, your visit to an out-of-network doctor may not be covered at all. For these reasons, review changes to your Medicare Select or Advantage plan each year to ensure that your preferred doctors remain in-network.

Your Prescription Drug Coverage and Costs Could Have Changed

Medicare Part D, and the prescription drug coverage offered by Medicare Advantage plans, can change from year to year. Because of this, you should review changes to your prescription drug coverage each year to ensure your current prescriptions are still covered by your plan, your out-of-pocket costs remain manageable, and your preferred pharmacies remain in-network.

Changes to your prescription drug coverage or doctor and pharmacy networks could force you to reconsider your health care plan or leave you with huge bills. If your networks or coverage changed, you may need to choose a new health care provider, discuss your current drugs with your doctor, or choose a new Medicare plan that offers the coverage you need.

Ensure You Have the Right Medicare Plan for Your Situation

While reviewing changes to your Medicare plan, you should also verify that your plan meets your needs at the lowest possible cost. Competing insurers can charge different premiums for the same policies, so it can be a good idea to shop for rates each year. This can help you minimize your costs without sacrificing coverage.

It’s also wise to review your overall Medicare strategy each year to ensure you have the right plan. This stems from the fact that your needs will change over time. That’s why you should secure adequate coverage for the services you use most. If more coverage is needed, you may be able to choose a different plan during open enrollment. Along the same lines, you may be paying for unnecessary coverage. If this is the case, seek a less comprehensive plan for the coming year that includes the services you require.

Before making changes to your Medicare plan, review your options with an experienced financial advisor. An experienced advisor can work with you to ensure that you are covered for the services you use most and prepared for needs that may arise. They can also help you manage out-of-pocket costs and minimize monthly premiums.

Get Your Medicare Questions Answered by the Team at Meld Financial

When you have questions about your Medicare options, turn to the team of tax, legal, and investment professionals at Meld Financial. With decades of experience growing our clients’ wealth, we have answers to your most pressing retirement questions. Our team can help you choose a Medicare plan that best matches your budget and needs, and help you review your coverage each year.

Our comprehensive wealth management program, Financial Fingerprint™, includes a thorough review of Medicare and Social Security. But the best part is the plan is quick to assemble, easy to understand, and simple to modify as your circumstances change. With Financial Fingerprint™, and a partnership with an experienced financial advisor, you can gain confidence in all aspects of your retirement plan – including Medicare.

To get started, contact us.

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