If you are like many people, you go to your mailbox every day, looking quickly through the junk mail, catalogs, and assorted mailers as you have your mind on other things. You might leave the pile of unopened mail, seemingly unimportant, sitting on your desk, just waiting for you to have a free moment to sift through it all. During this month, you will want to take an extra careful glance at that mail, especially if you are a Medicare beneficiary.
With Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP) coming soon, from October 15 through December 7, this is an important month for you to receive important health care related documents. This crucial reading material will help you make important decisions during the AEP, and will guide you in your health care coverage throughout the coming year. Your Medicare Advantage plan’s Annual Notice of Change will be arriving soon, as well as your Summary of Benefits. These papers should be reviewed when they arrive. There may be changes to your benefits, lower or higher costs, or even additional benefits being offered. Keep these papers in a safe, easy-to-access area so that you can review your benefit, cost, and coverage changes for 2012. You should be receiving this information by October 1, so you will have time to read the documents, consult with trusted advisors or loved ones, and even compare your current needs to your updated Medicare coverage information.
All Medicare beneficiaries will also be receiving the 2012 Medicare & You Handbook, an indispensable resource that can be referred to throughout the year for invaluable information. Any changes made to Original Medicare for the 2012 coverage period will be noted in this Medicare & You Handbook, along with answers to many of your Medicare health coverage questions.
After October 1, you may also find marketing materials from various Medicare health plans arriving, as they want to introduce you to their coverage options. The Annual Election Period is the opportunity for Medicare beneficiaries to make any changes they need to their health care coverage, and the more information you have at your fingertips, the better prepared you will be to evaluate your current coverage and make changes if you need to. If you review your coverage, compare your needs with your current plan as well as other plans available in your area, and find you do not need to make any changes, you do not have to do anything except file your coverage documents in a safe place.