Three Top Tips Financial Advisors Need to Know During Medicare Open Enrollment
September 6, 2022
Odds are that you have clients who are currently on Medicare. Medicare Open Enrollment starts on October 15th, so now is a great time to start preparing! As a reminder, Medicare Open Enrollment is the period from October 15th - December 7th when your clients who are on Medicare can join, switch, or drop a plan. More specifically, during Open Enrollment, clients can:
- Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer drug coverage.
- Join a Medicare drug plan.
- Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.
- Drop Medicare drug coverage completely.
With so much possible during this short window, we summarized a few key tips to ensure you and your client make the best Medicare choices possible for their health needs, financial goals, and budget to make the Open Enrollment period a lot less daunting.
Don’t wait until the last minute.
Perhaps a bit obvious, but it’s important enough that it needs to be stated. Plus, we don’t just mean the actual act of enrolling in a Medicare plan. For you, the financial advisor, to successfully help clients enroll in Medicare, you also need to get a head start on having a healthcare planning conversation with clients. There’s a little over a month until Medicare Open Enrollment opens, so September and October are great months to schedule a meeting with clients to discuss healthcare. This leads us to our next tip for financial advisors on how to have a successful Medicare open enrollment process.
Remember to look at more than just monthly premium costs.
Sure, the monthly costs are important. But they aren’t the only cost that’s important to consider. As a comprehensive financial advisor, it’s up to you to help clients review all the costs associated with Medicare. Let’s talk about drug coverage. Here’s an example of what not to do: your client wants to keep their healthcare costs low so they choose a plan with a low monthly premium. However, that plan might not provide comprehensive enough drug coverage for their current prescription list, so they will actually end up paying more on an annual basis.
Look at clients’ healthcare needs from the last year.
Taking the time to look at how frequently clients used the healthcare system can make a big difference in the healthcare planning process. Review the medications they took over the last year and their costs, how frequently your client utilized the healthcare system and the out-of-pocket costs associated with those visits, and their monthly premiums. If your client suspects their needs will remain the same, review their current plan to see if any coverage will change. For example, a medication that was covered last year under their current plan might not be covered next year under the same plan. Another example is that their medication will still be covered, but the pharmacy they typically get the medication from won’t be considered “in-network” next year under their current plan. Contracts change every year, so never assume that just because a plan covered something last year means it’ll be covered next year under the same plan.
Let’s say that you’re on board with all these tips and want to ensure you set clients up for success who want to change their Medicare plan during Open Enrollment, but, you’re not sure you have the bandwidth to do all these tips for all your Medicare clients. Does this mean you have to completely abandon the idea of helping Medicare enrollee clients with Open Enrollment? Not if you enlist the help of Caribou! Our healthcare planning software streamlines this process, and we’re open to only a limited number of new customers prior to the Open Enrollment period, after which point, customers will be on a waitlist until January. If you’re not ready to commit, we’ll be releasing more blogs all through Medicare Open Enrollment and Marketplace Open Enrollment with tips to help you and your clients. We’ll also share advice on our social media, and you can bet that myself and my co-founder, Cory,will continue to drop tips and insights on our LinkedIn too.