Frequently Asked Questions
Medicare Advantage and Part D benefits change each year. This means your premiums can increase and your benefits may change. Some common reasons you may want to change your coverage are: your monthly premium is increasing, the Medicare Advantage plan no longer has your doctor in the network of your plan, or the drug formulary drops your medication off the list of covered drugs.
You'll receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANoC) in September from your carrier. The ANoC will explain any changes happening to your current policy that will take effect the following year.
Although you'll have one chance to change your Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period January 1-March 31 each year, it's important to choose your plan carefully during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). For starters, ask yourself these questions:
If you're already collecting Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits before your 65th birthday, you don't need to do a thing. You'll be enrolled automatically and will receive your Medicare card by mail. If not, you can easily sign up online or by phone
When you enroll depends on your personal situation and whether you'll be working past age 65. For more information on when to enroll, visit the Medicare 101 page on our website. To discuss your personal Medicare timeline with one of our AAA Licensed Insurance Agents, please call us at (877) 477-7120. (By calling, you agree that a AAA Licensed Insurance Agent may contact you.)
In general, if you have Medicare and retiree insurance, Medicare will pay your health care bills first. In this case, your group coverage is your secondary insurance, similar to a Medicare Supplement policy. To get full benefits from your retiree insurance, you'll want to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B when you become eligible.
You'll also want to make sure that your retiree insurance includes creditable coverage for prescription drugs. If you like your employer drug coverage and it counts as creditable coverage, you can keep it and won't need to enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan. However, if you don't have creditable drug coverage, it's best to enroll in Part D as soon as you're eligible to avoid penalties. Each employer plan is different, so contact your human resources representative for more details. For more information, see the What To Do About Part D Coverage section of our website.
If you're considering dropping your retiree insurance for Medicare, you can. Remember, though, ineligible spouses and dependents can't enroll with you. They'll lose their coverage through your employer's plan if you disenroll.
For the most part, when you have more than one form of coverage, Medicare is primary. Some examples include having group coverage through a smaller employer, COBRA, being on inactive duty with TRICARE, or Medicaid. Usually, secondary insurance will only pay if the primary insurance paid its portion first. Still have questions? Our AAA Licensed Insurance Agents can help you decide what's best in your individual situation.
Once you sign up for Medicare, you're no longer eligible to contribute to a health savings account (HSA), so in some cases, it pays to hold off on enrolling.
Health savings accounts offer a great opportunity to sock away funds on a tax-free basis to pay for healthcare costs during your working years and retirement. Often confused with flexible spending accounts, HSAs do not require you to use up your plan balance year after year. In fact, the value of the HSA lies in your ability to invest your contributions and grow them into a larger sum over time. That way, when retirement rolls around, you'll have savings specifically earmarked for medical expenses.
However, if you're enrolled in Medicare, you'll no longer be eligible to contribute to an HSA. Enrolling in Medicare, however, does not bar you from taking withdrawals from an existing HSA. That money is there to cover qualified healthcare expenses, and you can use those funds to pay for your premiums, deductibles, coinsurance payments, or prescription copays. In some cases, you can even use the money in your HSA to purchase long-term care insurance.
In some cases, you may want to stop contributing six months prior to when you plan to enroll in Medicare. Once you sign up for Part A, you're entitled to up to six months of retroactive coverage (going back only to your eligibility date), so if you don't halt your HSA contributions half a year prior to enrolling, you may be subject to tax penalties on the funds you put into your HSA during that time.
If you have an HSA and are unsure about when to enroll in Medicare, our AAA Licensed Insurance Agents are here to guide you. Just call us at (877) 477-7120. (By calling, you agree that a AAA Licensed Insurance Agent may contact you.)