Around September every year, the emails begin. “Important changes to your Medicare health and drug coverage,” and “Plan ahead for Medicare open enrollment,” and “Is your Medicare Advantage plan right for you?”
Mixed in there are also the scam emails. And then also if an actual letter slips past you, the caregiver, and your parent gets hold of it, be prepared for questions and fixations around their insurance. Yeah, happened to me this year after being as vigilant as I could be about changing mom’s mailing address to mine and also asking the nurses to hold her mail. What can I say? I tried.
What I know is this – there’s a lot of information coming at you. You don’t want to deal with it. Yet you have to deal with it and it feels overwhelming.
I’m going to share with you my top tips to make this process easier on you, the caregiver.
First, from what I understand, you have until December 7th when Medicare’s Annual Election Period ends to decide to either keep the coverage your loved one has or decide on another plan. Which means that you still have time to break this process down and make it as easy on you as possible.
Tip #1: Break this process down into smaller, less intimidating chunks.
First, decide that you won’t decide anything right away. Take a look at the emails, log into the sites – Medicare and also any supplemental insurance sites your parent has and see what they have to say. Get used to the language and the navigation of the sites themselves. And also get used to the fact that the sites are hard to navigate and some information is usually missing or the page is not active (looking at you, United Healthcare).
Tip #2: Walk away from everything related to Medicare plans. Breathe. Take a walk. Do something nice for yourself. Seriously, I’m not kidding here. This deciding on a new plan is not any fun.
Tip #3: Go back to this a few days later. Looking at this with fresh eyes allows the the opportunity to see things differently and to begin to understand the information.
Tip #4: If you can find a way to compare your loved one’s current plan with the plan for the new year, that is the easiest way I’ve found to see if any big changes are in store.
Tip #5: Remember that this is a difficult and really not enjoyable process. Remember that you are doing the very best you can and your decision will reflect that. Know that it is going to take time and it’s not a one look and your done kind of decision. Give yourself some grace & space with that.
What are your tips for navigating through Medicare plans each year? Let me know in the Facebook Group, Support for Adult Children of Senior Citizens.