2024 Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) from
October 15 until December 7
Annual Election Period
It is the time of year when you get overwhelmed with solicitations regarding your Medicare Advantage Plan aka Medicare Part C and your Medicare Prescription Drug Plan aka Part D.
Every year plans have coverage changes, doctors start or stop accepting plans, and prescription cost change. You need to review your options.
At a minimum read your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) to avoid surprises.
During the Annual Election Period
- Enroll – If you are not currently enrolled in either a Medicare Advantage Plan aka Medicare Part C or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan aka Part D, you can enroll, and you cannot be declined.
- Switch – If you are already enrolled in a plan you can switch to a different plan or company.
- No Restrictions for Part C – Please note with Medicare Advantage Plan aka Part C there are no restrictions regarding pre-existing conditions. Medicare is Medical Insurance for people age 65+ and people who’ve been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance for longer than 2 years.
Reduction in Benefits
In 2024 most companies are scaling back benefits, not dramatically, but where companies offered many additional benefits in 2023, this year most companies are standing pat or reducing benefits. One of the reasons to review your ANOC.
Despite these reductions there are companies offering new benefits and services that might excite you.
Medicare Advantage aka Part C
Here is brief synopsis of some of the plan options available
Regence is a fan favorite. Offering both HMO and PPO options. Large provider network and drug formulary. Plans include Dental, Vision, Over the Counter, Silver & Fit.
Has remained a strong provider of coverage. Always one of my favorite providers. Offers:
- both HMO and PPO options with all the bells and whistles.
- Plans include, Dental, Vision, Alternative Medicine, Over the Counter and Silver Sneakers.
- Humana has one of the largest provider networks (your doctors probably accept Humana)
- $0 copay for Generic Drugs.
Premera has streamlined down to 3 plan options, they do not require referrals, & they have improved Dental and Vision benefits. In addition, you get medications like Ozempic, Januvia, and Trulicity with $0 copay before coverage gap. Hearing Aids is available for as little as $0. Plans include Alternative Medicine, Over the Counter and & Fiton Fitness program.
I compare Kaiser to Apple Computers (vertically integrated so everything works together). There are 5 plans choices, however the Basic plan does not include drug coverage. Plans include Preventive Dental, Vision, Alternative Medicine, Over the Counter and Silver & Fit.
Most think of them as a company for people on Medicaid but they also offer a $0 premium HMO. Plans include Preventive Dental, Vision, Silver & Fit. MyChoice Card can be used to pay for Dental, Food and Produce, OTC and Transportation.
One of the newer companies, which offers very rich benefit designs and low copays. With both HMO and PPO options (PPOs are coupled with Mutual of Omaha). The HMO Giveback plan refunds $64 of your monthly Medicare Part B premium, so your Social Security payment is more. Plans include Dental, Vision, Alternative Medicine, OTC, Silver Sneakers.
They offer both HMO and PPO options. One thing I have always liked about Aetna is that they include Massage (12 visits pcy). Plans include, Dental, Vision, Alternative Medicine, Over the Counter and Silver Sneakers. They also offer PPO plans with benefits that are unique.
Medical Expense Wallet: $100 quarterly benefit amount (allowance) to pay for medical cost share expenses.
Fitness allowance: In addition to Silver Sneakers, they will pay for your Air Jordan’s. You also get a direct member reimbursement (DMR) allowance of $800 per year. You can be reimbursed toward:
- Fees paid for aerobic/fitness activities or membership fees to a qualified fitness club that does not participate with SilverSneakers.
- Activity fees such as pickleball fees, golf green fees, ski/lift passes and fees, National and State Park fees, bowling, yoga, stretching, dance classes, and fees associated with extra features at SilverSneakers facilities.
- Activity supplies such as camping tents, hiking poles, and fishing rods.
- Weights and fitness supplies such as exercise peddlers, yoga mats, exercise bands.
- Wearable items such as athletic shoes and tracking devices.
Medicare Gap Plans
Medicare Advantage vs Medicare Supplement
There are 2 types of plans designed to fill the gaps left by Medicare. There are Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Supplement plans. Medicare Supplement plans tend to have higher premiums than Medicare Advantage but less potential financial exposure. Supplements do not include many of the extra and ancillary benefits offered by Medicare Advantage (Dental, Vision, OTC, etc) Also Medicare Supplement plans do not include drug coverage, you have to get a standalone Medicare Part D; prescription drug plan.
Medicare Supplement aka Medigap
Plans A, G, K and N plans available. If you’re enrolled into Medicare before 2020 Plan F is also available
If you enroll in a Medicare Supplement aka Medigap plan you must also enroll in a stand-alone prescription drug plan if you do not you will be penalized if you enroll later.
Medicare Part D: Prescription Drug Plans
The plans below are for people that receive both Medicare and Medicaid. These plans are referred to as Special Needs (Dual Eligible) Plans. FYI –Medicare is Medical Insurance; Medicaid is financial assistance for low income. If you want to see if you are eligible for financial assistance, please go to https://www.washingtonconnection.org. If you qualify you may not have to pay your Medicare Part B premium ($174.80/mth), you will pay nothing when you receive care, and you will receive many additional benefits.
Medicare Advantage Special Need Plans
Offers both HMO and PPO plan options. Plans offer; Telehealth: $0 per call; Meals delivered right to their door to improve recovery; $750 covered additional dental, vision, or hearing services; Up to $25 every month for healthy food; $50 every month to help cover the cost of utilities; Robotic companion pet; $395 every quarter Over the Counter items.
Healthy Options Allowance $185 monthly allowance on a prepaid card to use for essentials you need to support your health. This allowance can be used to buy approved products from participating retail locations (like groceries, over-the-counter health and wellness items, personal care items, home supplies, etc.) or pay for approved services (monthly living expenses like a taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc.) Routine Acupuncture $0 copay for acupuncture visits up to 25 visits. SilverSneakers ® fitness program Basic fitness center membership including in person and digital fitness classes
Plans include $300/qtr over the counter benefits, transportation and stipend to pay utilities, food and personal emergency response system.
Amerigroup changed their name to Wellpoint. The same excellent service with a new name. Their plan provides a combined spending allowance of $75.00 each month for assistive devices, eligible food items, over the counter (OTC) health and wellness products, and utilities. response system.
We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options. If you would like to find more information about the Medicare program please visit the Official U.S. Government Site for People with Medicare located at http://www.medicare.gov
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