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What Will Insurance Look Like Next Year?

Question: When do we find out what our insurance looks like in next year?

Answer: Well school has started and that means we are fast approaching my favorite time of year, Annual Open Enrollment Period for the Medicare insurance products. Individuals with Medicare in the coming weeks will be receiving the 2021 information packets. Medicare along with the Medicare Advantage Plans, the Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, and the Medicare Supplements all have slightly different coverage pricing and benefits each year.

Many of those changes are announced Oct. 1 for the upcoming year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires that insurance companies notify by Oct. 1 of you of what your coverage looks like in the new year. That means in the next few weeks of September, you will be receiving mail from your insurance company informing you of what 2021 looks like for that plan.

Oct. 1 is the date that all the Medicare related insurance products release their information publicly, to allow individuals to compare their alternatives for the new year.

If you remember last year in addition to that change we had a newly released medicare.gov website to learn about as well. With the new website, we can focus on learning about how our insurance coverage may be changing, and that gives us some time to research some of the alternatives. On Oct. 15 the annual open enrollment period begins. This is the date that you can first make a change to your insurance coverage that will begin Jan. 1, 2021. From Oct, 15 to Dec. 7 each year, those enrolled in Medicare and the accompanying insurance products can review and change their insurance to a product that will work for them.

With Medicare, you may notice an increase in the amount of mail, and maybe email, that you may receive in the coming weeks. That mail includes important information about the insurance product you already have, and it also includes information about many other products that are available.

This year has been much different. You may have had very little change to your situation medically, but you still need to evaluate your insurance decision. That evaluation always begins with your current coverage. Do you like it? Is it still available? Does the pricing structure stay pretty similar with regard to premium and co-pays for medical care and medications? Did it cover your medications easily and affordably and will it still be affordable next year?

When looking at those questions, if all the answers are “yes” you can probably stay with your current coverage and let it roll over to 2021. In past years, there are plans that are no longer offered. In previous years there have been plans that change names, and one or two new plans offered.

Watch your mailbox and your email in-box for Insurance information for 2021.

Senior Life Matters is a community based program sponsored by Lutheran Jamestown. For questions and concerns call 720-9797 or e-mail SLM@lutheran-jamestown.org.

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