October 1, 2019

Another Annual Enrollment: Oct. 15 to Dec. 7

By Richard J. Schillig, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF
Independent Insurance and Financial Advisor

Time really flies when having fun!! We are having fun! We are having fun helping people with their Medicare decision. Let’s clarify – having fun is not making fun of people. But we are having fun explaining to people what initially seems simplistic options or choices we have for Medicare. Then the details begin to add complexity and confusion. When the government(s) gets their hands on anything government tends to provide horrendous details and regulations resulting in more confusion. Typical. The government has been very successful in confusing everyone with Medicare choices. Regardless if you are new to Medicare or have been enrolled in Medicare, each year the Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services sets the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). This year AEP begins Oct 15 and continues through Dec 7. During the AEP Medicare folks may change their Medicare plan choice for the 2020 year.

Medicare folks – if you are satisfied with your Medicare Choice – the plan will renew automatically. Automatic renewal requires no action on your part UNLESS the insurance company has notified you of a significant change or cancellation of your plan. If satisfied with your Medicare Plan and have received no notice from the insurance company regarding a significant plan change no action is required. The plan will renew automatically. But if you are NOT satisfied with your plan choice for Medicare, the AEP allows you an opportunity to change this choice for 2020.

The AEP applies to folks already on Medicare. If you are new to Medicare – aging in – to Medicare you have an Initial Enrollment Period. This period – the Annual Enrollment Period applies to individuals currently on Medicare that wish to make a change for the new year.

The choices for Medicare are either Original Medicare or the Medicare Advantage Plan. There are pros and cons to the Original Medicare Choice and pros and cons to the Medicare Advantage Plan Choice. Which is best for you?? That is the part that begins to get confusing. You see the Original Medicare Choice then involves the option of participating in a Medicare Supplement. There are multiple Medicare Supplement Plans. These plans are standardized by regulation. Consequently, Medicare plan benefits are the same from insurance company to insurance company. The premium may change from company to company but the benefits are standardized. Medicare supplement plan F benefits with one insurance company will have identical benefits with another insurance company. There are concerns with Medicare Supplement Plan F that are also occurring in 2020. But that’s another topic we will address in November.

Medicare part D – the prescription drug – part of Medicare brings additional complexity and confusion. In these Medicare regions, there are approximately 18 prescription drug plans. Electing Original Medicare with a supplement brings in the near mandatory choice for a prescription drug plan. Which prescription drug plan is best for you?

Aging into Medicare and confused? OR currently on Medicare and still confused? That’s standard! During the month of October and continuing through November and early December we have a series of informational meetings reviewing the basics of Medicare and the choices you have with supplements, prescription drug plans and the advantage plans. Join us for these meetings.

Richard J. Schillig, CLU, ChFC, LUTCF is an Independent Insurance and Financial Advisor with RJS and Associates, Inc. He can be reached at (563) 332-2200.

Filed Under: Finance, Retirement