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By Courtney Schmidt, PharmD
Updated October 13, 2020

Don't let Medicare's annual enrollment period sneak up on you. If you want to make changes to your Medicare plan for 2021, you'll need to do so between October 15 and December 7, 2020.

Not sure where to start? Don't worry. We've provided a handy checklist to guide you through each step of the process.

Your 2020 Medicare Enrollment Checklist

Know your options

During annual enrollment, you may choose to:

Review your current coverage

You'll need:

  • Your Annual Notice of Change for your Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan
  • All of your Explanation of Benefits from 2020
  • Any premium notices you received during 2020

Notice if your plan has made changes such as:

  • Your doctor(s) are no longer in-network
  • Coverage or copays of your medications has changed
  • Copays, deductibles, or out-of-pocket costs have increased
  • Services you are likely to use are no longer covered

Examine what you spent this year

Analyze your 2020 medical expenses and decide whether the amount fits within next year's budget:

  • Add up the total amount you spent on copays, deductibles, and coinsurance for the year
  • Add up the total amount you spent on premiums for the year
  • Add up your prescription drug costs; consider coverage gaps
  • Compare what you spent for the year to the out-of-pocket maximums if you have a Medicare Advantage plan
    • If you're close to the maximum, you won't need to pay much more out-of-pocket
    • If you still have far to go to reach the maximum, be sure you can afford this amount if you have to pay it next year

Consider your needs for the upcoming year

Ask yourself the following questions to decide whether you should keep your current plan or change plans:

  • Did the coverage I received meet my medical needs?
  • Did the amount I paid in total fit into my budget?
  • Are any of my plan's upcoming changes likely to affect me?
  • Did my plan's customer service meet my expectations?
  • Am I able to get the prescription medication I need within my budget?
  • Are there any upcoming medical needs that should be considered for 2021?

Compare plans

If you've decided to change plans, be sure to:

Researching your Medicare plan options?Dr. Courtney Schmidt is a clinical consultant pharmacist and geriatric care expert. Since completing her Pharm.D. at the University of Florida., Dr. Schmidt has worked in multiple clinical settings and has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Central Florida.