October 8, 2020
Enrollment for 2021 Medicare plans begins on October 15th and will run until December 7th 2020. As with past enrollment periods, there are some plan changes that are new for 2021, including a few which have been implemented to help beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a complex topic, and it would be impossible to explore every little nook and cranny of information associated with enrollment.
For now, however, we wanted to cover some of the more fundamental aspects, while reviewing the basics for those who are enrolling in Medicare for the first time and touching one some things to consider when renewing existing coverage.
First-time Medicare Enrollment
Whether you’re turning 65 in 2021, losing your employer-sponsored coverage, or simply want to make a change, you can sign up for Medicare between October 15th and December 7th. There are a number of options available including traditional plans, Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplements, Medigap coverage, or a combination of the aforementioned. We provide a brief overview of each below, but for now it’s important to remember that Medicare enrollment is limited to just under 10 weeks, and waiting until the last minute is highly inadvisable.
For some first-time beneficiaries, the process of enrolling is easy. For others, it can be a bit overwhelming. Working with a local health insurance agency is a smart way to streamline enrollment and better understand your coverage, while avoiding mistakes and ensuring a timely sign-up.
Existing Medicare Renewals
It can be tempting to simply renew your 2020 coverage, however it’s essential to take some time to review it, first. A number of last year’s plans have seen changes ranging from subtle to significant, so it’s vital to know exactly what you’re renewing and whether or not it’s the best option based on your needs. Some of the most common changes include physician network coverage, Rx co-pays, deductible changes, monthly premiums, and more. That said, it’s important to review any mail that your carrier has sent you regarding coverage changes.
We anticipate that many traditional Medicare beneficiaries will be making the switch to Medicare Advantage. They’re all-inclusive, easy to manage, and offer traditionally lower monthly premiums with the benefit of expanded coverage. And it’s worth noting that if you take no action prior to the December 7th deadline, your existing coverage plan may auto renew.
Understanding Various Medicare Plans and Supplements
Here’s a brief rundown on the various types of Medicare coverage options available. If you’d like to know more about each, the licensed agents at Premier in Lisle will be happy to assist.
Medicare Part A
Part A Medicare is considered the most standard plan, and provides coverage for hospital expenses. It’s available at no cost to the majority of those over the age of 65.
Medicare Part B
Part B is a Medicare supplement that many purchase to help cover the costs of routine office visits and some outpatient services. In 2020, the average monthly cost for Medicare Part B was just under $150.
Medicare Part D, Rx Prescription Coverage
Whereas Parts A and B do not cover the cost of prescription drugs, Medicare Part D is a popular supplement that helps offset the cost of many medications.
Medigap helps with the cost of expenses not covered under Parts A, B and D, but it can be a little confusing, as there are 10 different plan options and each one provides unique coverage. If you’re considering adding Medigap, it’s definitely a good idea to contact a local agent for assistance.
Medicare Advantage is privately-offered all-inclusive plan that unites Parts A, B and D. Aside from the convenience they offer, many choose Advantage because of the additional coverage they provide, including dental, vision, hearing and more.
In 2021, a number of Medicare Advantage providers will cover transportation expenses, meal delivery and more, while significantly broadening their remote services. Premiums are expected to drop over 10% in 2021, making this option all the more desirable—provided that you don’t mind staying within the provider’s network.
Signing Up for 2021 Medicare Benefits
There are a number of options when it comes to enrolling for Medicare benefits in 2021. To see how plans have changed for the upcoming year, or to compare the various plan options available to you, you can Compare Plans on the official website. If you’re comfortable enrolling on your own, you can do so online or over the phone with a customer service rep.
For anyone with more detailed questions, as well as those not comfortable enrolling on their own or interested in free expert assistance, working with a local agent can save you time and prevent any over looked mistakes. If you’re in Illinois or the Chicago area, Premier in Lisle is here to help. There are no fees for our Medicare enrollment services and no pressure whatsoever to purchase coverage through us.
Get in touch by phone at 800-369-0287 or write to Premier via email through our website’s secure contact page.