Do you have aging parents on Medicare? Were you aware that Medicare’s Annual Open Enrollment Period begins in October? You need to know that during this enrollment period every year, Medicare health and drug plans may make changes to costs, coverage, providers, and pharmacies in their networks. We encourage you to support your aging parents by helping them review their health care coverage plans for any changes, as well as, any changes to their health in the past year. Because their plan may have changes and their own health condition may have changes, it is always wise to revisit health plans during the annual open enrollment period.
The first way you can help your aging parents is to ask them if they have each received an “annual notice of change” letter from their Medicare plan? These letters are due to them by the end of September. In their benefits letter, Medicare explains all the changes coming in the new year, including coverage and costs such as premiums, deductibles, and copays. If they cannot locate their copies of the letter, it is not a problem. They can request a copy when they just click here to visit the Medicare website.
The second way you can help your aging parents is for you to sit with them and start evaluating their current plans. We recommend starting this evaluation by reviewing, for each parent, their medical expenses over the last six months. Also, look at a list of the doctors they see regularly and the medications they take regularly. Now in order to get an accurate picture of whether each parent has a Medicare plan that is the best fit for him or her, you need to compare more than just the premiums. You need to also review their medical care for the last six months and whether there have been any changes in their health that would impact their current Medicare plan.
A third way to help your aging parents would be to look into what additional plans are in their area. Take a look at The Medicare Plan Finder on the Medicare website. This online tool is from the government to help you assist your aging parents by selecting and comparing plans. Once you enter their zip code and details about their medications and whether they receive them by mail, you can compare plans available in their area. You can also try the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, which offer free local counseling to enrollees.
The final and very important way to help your aging parents is to locate an experienced Florida elder law firm. Elder law attorneys are very knowledgeable about the Medicare program. Medicare can be essential to elder law planning because premiums for some parts of Medicare are based on your modified adjusted gross income (or MAGI) from two years ago. MAGI also adds in capital gains, Social Security, and required minimum distributions from individual retirement accounts and 401(k) plans. While you cannot change your income, you can plan for 2023’s premiums.
In addition, you may also want to look at Medicare plan information by comparing plans online or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE or visiting Medicare.gov. We know this article raises more questions than it answers and want to help you. We provide expert service to guide you through the medical, financial, and emotional stress of caring for an aging parent or spouse. Our law firm was born out of the personal journey of Attorney H. Frances Reaves as she cared for her own parents. This experience taught her that most seniors in the United States are ignored by society, the government, business and, sadly, their children. Most children of elderly parents don’t know how many benefits and resources are available for their parents or ailing family members. Let us help you. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.