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Understanding Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) for Medicare

With the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) right around the corner, you want to make sure you are on the right plan for your needs. Around September 30th, those who have a Medicare Advantage plan, or a Part D drug plan will receive an Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) from the insurance company in which they are enrolled. This is a highly detailed document that outlines coverage changes in their plans for the upcoming year. Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement plan participants do not receive this notice. All Medicare Advantage plans are required to send the ANOC so that members receive it no later than September 30th, or fifteen days before the start of the AEP. If you don’t receive a notice, contact the insurance company that administers your plan to make sure they have the right address on file. The AEP runs from October 15th through December 7th, and all changes made during this time go into effect on January 1st of the following year. So, what can you expect to see in the ANOC? How can you use it to make the proper plan decisions for the upcoming year? Read on to learn more about what to expect in the ANOC.

What Should You Look for in the ANOC?

Your ANOC compares your current year’s plan to the same plan for next year. It includes changes to your plan such as your premium, service area, and benefits covered. It is really important to look through the ANOC, as there might be significant changes to your current plan. These changes, even if they seem small at first glance, can amount to large expenses when cumulated over a year-long period. There is also potential for increase in benefits on plans that will be outlined in the ANOC.  

When reading through your ANOC, consider the following:

  • Are your medications still included in the same tiers?
  • Have out of pocket maximums changed?
  • Will copays or coinsurance change?
  • Did the monthly premium increase?
  • Has the deductible for the drug plan increased?
  • Are there coverage changes to my prescriptions?
  • Are your doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies in network?
  • Does your current plan still fit your needs?

Why Care about the ANOC?

Changes in plan coverage can make a big difference in the cost of a plan.

Oftentimes, the coverage most affected by policy changes is prescription drug coverage. If you take medications daily, changes to deductibles, copayments, and annual maximum limits can significantly increase healthcare costs. If these changes occur, it may make sense to look at your options and possibly find a different plan with benefits and costs that closer meet your needs.

Even if you see no significant changes in a plan’s ANOC, you might still benefit from comparing the plan you have to other options available on the market. There are many options available, and prices sometimes vary greatly for coverage which is nearly identical. This is why it’s worth checking to see if you can get the same or increased health benefits at a lower cost with a different plan.

Do You Need to Take Action?

If you look over your ANOC and are having difficulty understanding what the changes signify, connecting with an experienced professional might be the best thing to do to make the best decision for the upcoming year. The changes shown in your ANOC may seem complicated and can have a significant impact on the cost of your health care.

Even if you do understand the changes in your ANOC, an expert can help you compare available options so that you have the best coverage for the upcoming year. Connect with the Guided Medicare team for personalized and unbiased service that can help you navigate Medicare.

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