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Important information coming to your mailbox

Medicare | Sep 13, 2016

Current Medicare subscribers, important information will soon be reaching your mailboxes that you won't want to miss.

Come September, you'll receive a Plan Annual Notice of Change. The plan you're currently enrolled in will be sending this information your way. It's in your best interest to keep an eye out for this mail and carefully review it because it could affect your Medicare coverage in 2017.

The latest you'll see an ANOC arrive in your mailbox is Sept. 30, that's because providers are required to send this information in advance of the Annual Enrollment Period, which will take place from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.

"Come September, you'll receive a Plan Annual Notice of Change."

Why is it so important?

The ANOC is to inform you of any changes in plan coverage, service area and/or costs that will take effect starting Jan. 1, 2017. Any number of changes can help you decide whether you should stick with your current plan, or switch to a new one. You may find that some health services you currently receive will no longer be covered. If you were to stay with the same plan in 2017, you may have to pay more money out-of-pocket for that specific type of care.

Additionally, if you're enrolled in a prescription drug plan, you'll also want to make sure that any medications you receive are covered by the plan.

Other details are worth your consideration as well, even if you find out there won't be wholesale changes. It never hurts to compare your 2017 plan with other offerings, because you never know if you'll come across something that offers more health services for the same or lower cost.

It's important you carefully look over your ANOC because other than the AEP, there are limited opportunities to make any changes to your Medicare coverage.

What else should I know?

While preparing for the arrival of the ANOC in the mail, you can also start to make preparations for the AEP. During this period, you'll be able to switch Medicare plans based on your needs.

For example, you'll be able to switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, or move from an existing Medicare Advantage plan to a new one. You'll also be able to add or drop prescription drug coverage.

Essentially, when you see the ANOC arrive the mail, you'll have about two weeks to look everything over before the AEP. And while that period runs in just under two months, you don't want to wait until the last minute to settle on Medicare coverage for 2017.

You don't want to put yourself in a situation where some important details are passed over because of the Dec. 7 deadline.

If you're currently on any type of Medicare plan, expect to have some mail arrive in your mailbox in the coming weeks. The ANOC will provide you with any details and specifics about your Medicare plan, and what changes might be in store in 2017.