By Michele Campbell

Many Gilroy people are confused by the upcoming open enrollment periods, but it is a time where you can change your Medicare Advantage plans and your Part D prescription drug plans. Medicare Annual Enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.  For Medicare, you must make your final change by Dec. 7 for a Jan, 1, 2020 effective date.

Many of our clients ask throughout the year if they can change their plans because they’ve had medication or health changes and their current plan is no longer working for them.

You should receive an annual notice of change from your insurance carrier if there are any changes to your Medicare Advantage or Prescription drug plan for the next year. This notice, in the form of a letter, should arrive in your mailboxes about the end of September, beginning of October. If you get one, it will mention changes such as a premium increase, tier copay change, tier level change, medication that is no longer covered and various changes in copays on the health plan. Your current plan will remain the same for the rest of this calendar year.

If you haven’t done an annual review on your health plan in a few years, it’s probably a good idea to do that review.

How do you know if you’re paying too much or if there are better options out there for you? Don’t be like a couple we met recently, who are paying about $120 more, per person, than they need to for their drug plan, and have been for many years. We helped them and now they are excited about the monthly savings they will see in 2020.

The current Individual Open Enrollment period is Oct. 15, 2019 to Jan. 15, 2020. For Individuals, if you want to change your plan for a Jan. 1, 2020 effective date, you must make your plan change by Dec. 15. The individual market also has special reasons during the year which allow you to make immediate changes. Some reasons are losing your job, moving, etc.

For the Individual market, you can purchase your coverage direct from the insurance company or through Covered California. You can do either through an insurance agent who can help you navigate this difficult task. A lot of people assume you have to buy your coverage through Covered California, but that is not true. We only place clients through Covered California if they get financial assistance or outside of open enrollment when a carrier requires us to do so for a specific situation.

You should also know financial assistance (government subsidy) is going up. This is wonderful news for a lot of folks. What does this mean exactly for you? It means that you can make a lot more money than before, and still get a subsidy, which means more money in your wallets. If you’re not currently getting a subsidy, check with us on the income thresholds to see if you qualify in 2020. We were quite surprised at the increased income thresholds.

Michele Campbell is the owner of Michele Campbell Insurance. Contact her for help navigating this process. Her services are always free. She can be reached at michele@mcInsuranceServices or call (408) 848-2271.

Michele Campbell

Michele Campbell owns and operates Michele Campbell Insurance in Gilroy. If you have questions or need help, reach her at (408) 848-2271 or at
Michele Campbell