‘Tis the season for choosing next year’s health insurance plan! Lots of changes are happening next year, and you are going to want to know about them!
The biggest changes coming in 2024 will affect Medicare beneficiaries. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you know the Annual Election Period (AEP), which is the time of year to decide if you’d like to keep your current plan or switch to another one, started on October 15th and ends December 7th. Most years, changes are few and often for the better. This is not the case for 2024. This year, it’s important to review the Annual Notice of Change and check out the changes to your plan for 2024.
Autumn has arrived! The leaves are falling, the air is chilling, and the year is winding down. Along with our seasonal changes, this time of year offers the opportunity for those of us who are Medicare beneficiaries or get insurance through Connect for Health Colorado to review and re-enroll or make changes to our existing health plans for next year. The first enrollment period of the season, called the Annual Election Period (AEP), runs October15 - December7th. AEP is for Medicare beneficiaries, and where we will focus attention for this article.
August turned out to be a very busy month for insurance! When Friday Health Plan announced it was leaving our market this summer, expectations were that changes were not imminent, but that changed! As physicians around the state started getting nervous about being reimbursed by Friday through the end of 2023, the Department of Insurance decided to open a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) and close out Friday Health Plans as of August 31st. If you had a Friday plan, you’ve been well informed, and hopefully you had the opportunity to switch carriers by the end of August for a September 1st start date. If you had a Friday plan and have not enrolled with another carrier, you would be without health insurance as of September 1st. You can still enroll in September for an October 1st start date, or October for a November 1st start date. If you need help, please give us a call!
Most days, I drive from home to my office in Evergreen. Due to the abundant rain, I marvel at the beautiful wildflowers and how green everything has become. This got me thinking about the “greening” of healthcare – is healthcare getting better?
Tired of getting calls every day about your Medicare benefits? Turning on the TV and seeing Medicare advertising at every commercial break that lets you know that you may be missing out on free benefits is constant. But is it true? Generally, most folks don’t qualify for the benefits mentioned because they are extras offered for individuals who qualify for dual Medicare/Medicaid plans. Suggesting you might qualify gets you to make a call so they can get authorization to collect your personal information. It's no wonder that people have been complaining.
Are you turning 65 this year? If you will become eligible for Medicare soon, take note. You have a little work ahead of you! The first thing you’ll need to do is enroll in Medicare Parts A (hospital) and B (physicians and services) through the Social Security Administration. If you are already receiving benefits, your Medicare enrollment will be automatic but, if not, you’ll need to enroll in person or online at https://ssa.gov/medicare. You may apply up to three months ahead of your birth month, and I recommend you do so because it can take several weeks for Medicare applications to process. As long as you enroll ahead, you should receive your Medicare card in the mail with a typical effective date at the beginning of your birth month. You will pay a monthly premium for Medicare Part B: $164.90/mo. for most people in 2023. That’s the easy part.
If you are on original Medicare with a supplement and prescription drug plan, most of your medical needs are pretty much covered. What else should you consider? Neither original Medicare nor Medigap plans cover vision, dental or hearing. You may wish to look at getting an insurance plan that provides more robust coverage if you need it. These policies are not very expensive and there are many to choose from.
Medicaid expansion sparked by COVID-19 pandemic will be rolling back soon. Starting April, states will resume the Medicaid Redetermination process after three years of pause. In our state, Health FIrst Colorado and CHP+ will return to normal eligibility with renewals due in May. Notices will be sent this month.
Last year’s omnibus spending bill included $14.1 billion for SSA (Social Security Administration) to help solve their customer service crisis. If you have tried to call your social security office, you know what I mean. It is reported that one out of five calls are never answered, and waiting periods have more than doubled.
Happy New Year! Will you turn 65 in 2023? For people becoming Medicare eligible for the first time, making choices regarding healthcare moving forward can feel overwhelming. To receive comprehensive coverage, for most people, there are two main buckets to choose from: Enroll in Medicare Parts A&B and add a Medigap and Prescription Drug Plan (along with their premiums) to make up for what Medicare does not cover, or enroll in A&B and then switch to a Medicare Advantage plan. As of last year, over 45% of Medicare beneficiaries chose a Medicare Advantage plan, and expectations are that number will rise to more than 50% by 2025. So what are some of the pros and cons of Advantage plans?
Happy Holiday Season! It’s time to start cozying up by the fire, spend time with loved ones, and take advantage of the last opportunities to add or switch health plans for 2023!
If you are a Medicare beneficiary enrolled in an Advantage plan, the Annual Enrollment Period for 2023, ends on December 7th. Most folks in our area have kept their current Advantage plans for 2023. Benefits are improving across a variety of Advantage Plans, but not all in the same ways. Depending on what you anticipate your healthcare needs will be in 2023, it may be worth your while to compare plans for next year. If you like the doctor(s) you currently see, they remain in your network and your prescriptions are still covered in 2023, most likely you’ll be staying put. It’s a good idea to verify these things before AEP ends.
Welcome to November! This time of year, the opportunity to review and renew or change your Medicare or individual health plan is the thing to do. But this open enrollment period, over 50,000 Coloradoans got an extra surprise: Bright Health insurance company has decided to leave the Colorado market for 2023 and will no longer be offering health insurance here. I have many individual clients on Bright Health plans, and we will be busy moving them to another carrier and plan for 2023. In order to obtain new coverage effective January 1st, you must enroll no later than December 15th, so don’t delay. Enrollment after December 15th will mean your policy won’t go into effect until February 1st. If you need help, please give us a call. If you currently use Bright Health for your health insurance, your plan will stay in effect until the end of the year, but you will need to find new coverage for January first. Just be sure to keep paying your premium in order to maintain coverage through the end of the year.