You’ve heard the saying “Ask, and ye shall receive?” Well, insurance professionals like me have asked – on behalf of our Medicare communities, that is - and now health plans are all set to deliver!
Medicare health plan extras are explored year after year, in response to expressed need and community concerns. In response, many health plans have chosen to enhance certain extras in the 2023 plan year. Check!
Health plan benefits and extras must be approved by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services before they can be offered to the public. CMS also regulates when insurance professionals can talk to Medicare beneficiaries about new plan features and ratings for the next year.
October 1st of each year is the magical date when advisers and agents can begin sharing the next year’s plan details with beneficiaries. During this Annual Enrollment Period, find out if any of these enhancements have been added to your health plan:
Over-the-counter allowance roll-over? Check!
No more “use it or lose it” on this benefit. Beneficiaries will now be able to roll-over unused OTC allowance throughout the plan year, from January 1 - December 31, to use on qualified items.
Healthy foods included with OTC items? Check!
Gone is the “one or the other” strategy for OTC and Healthy Foods benefits. Offering healthy foods along with OTC items will help lessen food insecurity and the strain of costly dietary requirements that some beneficiaries may experience.
Flex(card)-ibility of allowance spending? Check!
Offering a “flex card” to be used for benefits like dental, vision, and hearing, in addition to certain utilities and bill payments now being covered in the guidelines, is a win for many beneficiaries. Every little bit helps for those with fixed incomes and limited resources.
Zero-dollar copays once inside the donut hole? Check!
The Part D coverage gap, called a “donut hole,” means that after you and your drug plan have spent a certain amount of money for covered drugs, you have to pay all costs out-of-pocket for your prescriptions up to a yearly limit. By offering relief on one or more drug tiers, once inside the donut hole, health plans will save beneficiaries hundreds – if not, thousands – in drug costs.
Transportation to grocery store or to hit the gym? Check!
Transportation barriers have been addressed, with (limited) transportation benefits for qualified members - but for now only on very few plans in specific counties. Dual Special Needs Plans include transportation primarily to and from health-related locations. The addition of transportation to grocery shop or to workout is great for aging individuals who rely on others to get around.
In-network services and cost-share when traveling, nationwide? Check!
Why be restricted to only emergency and urgent care services while on vacation or “snow birding” south for the winter? Having in-network benefits at your disposal during travel will be a comfort and relief for those requiring routine services.
Owner and principal adviser of Forty7 Benefits, Kim Parker is an independent insurance adviser focused on helping individuals, families, and employers make informed decisions on insurance coverage and benefits. Contact Kim at 810.350.4117 or email@example.com.