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Ask a senior, do you need any tips or guidance as the 2022 Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period begins? Be aware that every year on October 15th, Medicare health and drug plans may make changes to costs, coverage, providers, and pharmacies in their networks. It is always wise to review your health plan during the open enrollment because there may be plan coverage changes and even more importantly your own health condition may have changed.

First Tip: If you are currently on Medicare you should have received an “annual notice of change” letter from your Medicare plan, sometime during the month of September. As you read and study your letter you will find that Medicare explains all the changes coming in the new year, including coverage and costs such as premiums, deductibles, and copays. Unable to find your letter or do you need a letter? Just click here to visit the Medicare website and request a copy

Second Tip: How do you start evaluating your current plan? Start by collecting and reviewing your medical expenses over the last six months. In addition, make a list of the doctors you see regularly and the medications you need. Then, begin to look at your medical care for the past six months and see if you can account for changes in your health as well as any changes in your plan. To get an accurate picture of whether your Medicare plan is the best fit for you, you should compare not only the premiums, but also if with any health care changes are still supported by your current plan.

Third Tip: Are you interested in looking at the additional plans in your area? Go to The Medicare Plan Finder on the Medicare website. This online tool from the government can help you select and compare plans. First, you enter your zip code and details about your medications and whether you receive them by mail and then you can compare plans available in your area. You can also try the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, which offer free local counseling to enrollees.

Fourth Tip: Because we are an elder law firm, we strive to stay current with the Medicare program for our clients. Medicare can be essential to elder law planning because premiums for some parts of Medicare are based on your modified adjusted gross income (or MAGI) from two years ago. MAGI also adds in capital gains, Social Security, and required minimum distributions from individual retirement accounts and 401(k) plans. While you cannot change your income, you can plan for 2022’s premiums.

Remember, you are able to look at the Medicare plan information by comparing plans online or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or visiting Medicare.gov. For more information and answers to your questions on how to get the best protection you need now to ensure you have your elder law costs planned for, our office is here to help.

At Britton G. Swank, P.A., our mission is to guide you in the right direction to help you provide for yourself and your loved ones no matter what the future holds. We want to help you control the assets you have, leave them to people and causes you care about, when you want, in the way you want. We can help you take care of yourself and those you love in the event of disability due to illness, injury or old age. No matter what risks unfold, we can help give you the comfort of knowing you are prepared. We want you to feel good about your future and the future of your loved ones. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.