Your Guide to Medicare Annual Enrollment 2021
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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, 2021.
Not sure where to start? Don't worry. We've provided a handy checklist to guide you through each step of the process.
Your 2021 Medicare Enrollment Checklist
Know your options
During annual enrollment, you may choose to:
- Switch to a Medicare Advantage plan
- Move from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
- Drop Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare
- Add a Medicare Supplement plan if you have Original Medicare
- Switch prescription drug plans
- Add prescription drug coverage
Review your current coverage
- Your Annual Notice of Change for your Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan
- All of your Explanation of Benefits from 2021
- Any premium notices you received during 2021
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 2021 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?
If you've decided to change plans, be sure to:
- See our guide to finding the best Medicare Advantage plan
- See our guide to finding the best Medicare Supplement plan
- Check out Medicare star ratings for Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug plans
- Consider extra benefits such as vision, dental, and hearing coverage that may be available in some plans
- Remember that once you drop a supplement plan, you may not be able to get that coverage back for the same price
- Double check that your doctor(s) and medications are covered under the new plan
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.