Use Annual Open Enrollment Period To Evaluate Options

Question: What if I like my insurance and I don’t want to change it for 2019? What do I do? Do I have to reapply for the coverage?

Answer: I have to agree with your decision to keep the same insurance. I have found that quite a few people are content with their current insurance coverage for 2018. When they look to 2019, they find that it does not change that much, and maybe is even better, so they don’t want to change their coverage.

That is an exciting situation and something to smile about. That means you made a good decision last year and it looks to be worth staying in the same product for next year. Nice job.

You are all set. You have used this Annual Open Enrollment Period to evaluate your coverage and are going to keep it the same.

When you decide to stay in the Medicare insurance product that you currently have, you do not have to do anything! The product rolls over into the new year unless you decide to change it.

Most of the insurance companies do not issue new cards each year as new cards are issued for new enrollees only. The cards you currently carry in your wallet will work in 2019. Your insurance company will mail you new 2019 Evidence of Coverage information. That is material you should review and keep for future reference.

Watch for new premium notices and bills as your premium most likely did change. There were very few products that kept the same premium this year, so watch for that new rate and pay that bill in a timely manner. Some individuals pay the premium for the entire year, and you can certainly do that if that makes sense for you.

There are some products on the market that are $0 premium, so you may not get a bill. These $0 premium products from 2018 kept that the same and will be $0 premium for 2019, if you have one of those.

There are a couple of plans that changed the name of the product. If you are deciding to keep the same product, you probably will get new cards and will need to update your providers with that information. This applies to individuals who currently have First Health Part D Value Plus (PDP) plan for $56.30. These individuals have the same product if they chose to keep it, but the new plan is called Aetna Medicare Rx Value Plus (PDP) for $58.80. You have the same insurance product, but it has a new name, so you will get a new card.

Another name change is Today’s Options products, but in this situation the product name has stayed the same, but the owner has changed. It was Universal American and is now Wellcare. You may not see new cards being issued to you in this situation. The parent company has changed, not the product name.

For those of you that have decided to keep the same product, you are done!

I also want to remind you that you can change your mind in the future. You can change each year, now during the Annual Enrollment Period. There are many Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) as well. These SEPs are periods of time when you can change your insurance for a variety of reasons.

In 2019 there is even a new Enrollment Period that we will be covering in more detail in the coming weeks.

To contact Janell Sluga, GCMC with questions or concerns, call 720-9797 or e-mail her at janells@lutheran-jamestown.org.

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