Annual Medicare coverage renews automatically, ensuring that you will have continuous coverage as long as you are paying your respective premium. This applies to all Medicare plans, including Original Medicare (Part A and B), Medicare Advantage (Part C), Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D) or Supplement Plans.
Automatic plan renewal is rather straightforward and convenient, but reviewing your plan before the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period, lasting every year from October 15 to December 7, is a good way to assure you are receiving the best suited benefits at the most affordable price. This will also help you identify any changes in your current plan.
Moreover, some plans may not be renewed because they are no longer going to be covered by Medicare in the coming year. In this case, you should receive a Plan Non-Renewable Notice in your mail in November. This notice gives you advance notice of plan discontinuity, just in time to search for and enroll with a new plan during the Annual Open Enrollment Period.
Similarly, Medicare Advantage Plans and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans may change costs and coverage every year. Premiums, deductibles, and co-pays are most likely to change based on numerous economic factors, and the coverage may change based on location, from state to state. In addition, drug lists for Part D plans, practitioners including doctors and specialists, pharmacies, and hospitals for networks in Part C and Part D plans may also change. So the plan in which you are currently enrolled may not hold the same benefits and premiums for the next year, and you will not be able to change it once the Open Enrollment Period is over. You may not want it automatically renewed without reviewing it.
For both Part C and Part D, the Plan will send you an Annual Notice of Change in your mail. This Notice usually outlines Plan cost and/or coverage changes for next year compared to the current year. Make sure you check this thoroughly. You will have to live with the Plan you choose for the next year.
Original Medicare could also have different coverage and costs since you last checked it. Changes in states are also common. Since all Plans usually provide coverage on top of these two plans, make sure you review these very carefully.
Even if your current plan is not likely to change next year and you are satisfied with it, it is always a good idea to look at new options offered by Medicare. The offers for all the plans keep changing: new services are often added, or networks are expanded. So another plan with a different network may have a pharmacy closer to your home, for example, prompting you to want to shift. Along with a better insurance fit, look for cost efficiency and convenience.
You can also seek help by speaking to a Medicare Advisor by calling medigap.org at 1-855-214-4404 (TTY-711).
Researching the Social Security website (https://www.ssa.gov) can also be beneficial to gain more information about Medicare services and eligibility.