Over the next few months, you’re probably going to receive a lot of information about Medicare. It’s all meant to help you understand your coverage choices and make informed decisions during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (Oct. 15 – Dec. 7).
There is one piece of Medicare mail, though, that you want to be sure to read. It’s called the Annual Notice of Change, or ANOC for short, and it comes from your current Medicare plan provider. Delivered by September 30, ANOC letters ensure that plan members have up-to-date plan information before the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (formerly known as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period) begins.
How to Understand Your Medicare Plan Annual Notice of Change
Your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan ANOC provides important information. It can help you decide whether to keep your current plan or look for a new one during the Annual Enrollment Period.
Here’s what to look for when you get your ANOC, along with questions to help you understand plan changes and what they may mean for you.
- What new benefits have been added to your plan?
- Are there other changes that affect services you use?
- Have there been any changes in your health that may affect what services you may need or how often you may need them?
- If your health has changed, will your plan benefits cover the additional care you may need?
Provider network changes:
- What providers have been added to or removed from the plan network?
- Are your current doctors in the network?
- What about hospitals or other providers or specialists you may need?
- If your providers are not in the network, are you willing to switch to other providers that are?
Drug list and pharmacy network changes:
- What medications have been added to or removed from the plan’s covered drug list (formulary)?
- Are the drugs you currently take listed on the formulary?
- Have any of your medications been assigned to a different tier on the formulary? (This may affect your cost.)
- Is your pharmacy in the plan’s network? Is it a “preferred pharmacy” that offers the plan’s best pricing?
- Is the plan premium going up, going down or staying the same?
- Are any other costs changing, such as deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance?
- If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, what is your maximum out-of-pocket limit?
- How will cost changes affect your total out-of-pocket spending for the services and prescription drugs you may need?
Check with your plan if you are unclear about anything in the ANOC or if you did not receive an ANOC letter. You can call the customer service number on the back of your member card.
Your Medicare Plan Details May Change Every Year
Reviewing your ANOC is important because Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug plan insurance providers review their plan details each year and make changes as needed to better serve plan members.
Take time to review your plan. You don’t want to be caught off guard by higher costs or coverage changes after January 1. And whatever your decision may be—to stay with your current plan or to explore other Medicare coverage options—you want to make it based on the facts.