Each year in September, anyone enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug (Part D) plan receives an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC). While you may be tempted to toss it with your other junk mail, this is an important piece of information you should review.
The ANOC is sent by your insurance company to detail the changes to your plan that will go into effect in January of the following year. You should use the ANOC to evaluate if your plan is still the right fit for you or if it’s time for a change in coverage.
This article highlights four major factors to review, including:
- Monthly and annual costs for the plan
- Prescription coverage
- Pharmacy networks
- Service areas
What to look for in your ANOC
A higher premium or out-of-pocket expenses
Your premium is your monthly cost to have coverage. It’s important to know that insurance companies typically update their Medicare Advantage and Part D premium rates annually. The ANOC will notify you if there has been an increase in your monthly premium for the coming year.
The ANOC will also address your new out-of-pocket maximum for the new year. This is the amount of money you could potentially spend on health care that isn’t included in your plan, like copayments, etc.
If the new premium or out-of-pocket maximum puts you over-budget, you’ll want to reconsider your health care coverage. You can likely find a similar plan at a lower monthly cost, or you can choose to increase your coverage for a comparable premium.
Changes to your prescription coverage
Additionally, the ANOC will tell you whether your specific medications are still covered or have been removed from your plan’s covered drug list. This list is called a “Formulary” and, while it looks intimidating, will detail the drugs that are covered and their “tiers” (for more detailed information on this topic, download our eBook, The Complete Guide to Medicare Part D).
The ANOC also includes medications that have been added to your plan’s coverage and indicates any changes in copayments or coinsurance rates for the prescriptions they cover.
Changes to the pharmacy network
Don’t forget to review changes to your insurance company’s pharmacy network to ensure your preferred pharmacy is still included. If the pharmacy you use leaves your plan’s network or stops offering preferred cost-sharing, you can typically find a new pharmacy nearby within your plan’s network. If you do not wish to change pharmacies, you will need to change your Medicare plan instead.
Changes to the plan’s service area
The service area is another important factor you need to check. Although insurance companies rarely stop covering a geographic area, you’ll still want to verify your inclusion (especially if you live in a rural area). If your area is no longer included, you need to find a new plan for the upcoming year.
Do you need to take action?
Once you understand the key components of the ANOC, you’ll be able to evaluate if your current plan is still right for you.
For more information, download our in-depth eBook, The Complete Guide to Medicare Part D.
If you still need help understanding your options, United Medicare Advisors can help you shop plans from over 20 of the nation’s leading insurance carriers. We provide unbiased, personalized concierge service to meet you no matter where you are on your Medicare journey. Contact UMA today to speak to a Licensed Advisor.
Published: September 11, 2020