By Michael Polen
It’s that time of year again – the Annual Enrollment Period.
A time when millions of Americans age 65 and older and those with certain disabilities and conditions can make changes to their Medicare coverage.
It’s also a time to evaluate options, shop for the best deals, and select a plan that fits your budget and health needs.
The 2020 Annual Enrollment Period Is Now Open through Dec. 7
While most of us appreciate a good deal and search for ways to save on our cell phones, cable bills or car insurance, many Americans fail to examine the options for one of their most important expenses – their health.
According to a WellCare survey, 62% of seniors do not review their Medicare plans to find the best deal, often leaving money on the table. Meanwhile a Kaiser Health study found individuals who switched Medicare plans after comparison shopping saved approximately $200 per year.
This Annual Enrollment Period, I’d encourage anyone eligible for Medicare – as well as families and caregivers – to do your research and review your plan options.
Selecting a Plan That’s Right for You
The most basic decision to make this Annual Enrollment Period is whether to select Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. While the majority of Americans use Original Medicare, a growing 34% are in a Medicare Advantage plan, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Medicare Advantage plans are approved by Medicare but are offered through private health insurance companies, like WellCare. These plans tend to offer lower co-pays and deductibles and other added benefits such as care coordination and disease management; in-home support services; wellness programs and fitness memberships; vision, hearing and dental benefits; and medical transportation benefits.
Research shows Medicare Advantage outperformed Original Medicare in 16 out of 16 clinical quality measures, including hospital readmissions, breast and colon cancer screenings, and medication adherence.
As a result, nine out of 10 seniors report being satisfied with their Medicare Advantage plans.
Learn More about Your Options
There are dozens of resources available to help you select a Medicare plan that fits your needs this Annual Enrollment Period.
Michael Polen is WellCare’s executive vice president of Medicare and operations.