Are you prepared to help your aging parent choose the right plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment period? Medicare is the primary insurance available to all Florida seniors over the age of 60. Now is the time to review with your aging parent his or her healthcare plan, as well as his or her medical needs, to determine if you need to make changes to his or her current Medicare coverage.

We know you may have questions on where to begin. Every year in September, Medicare plans send out an Annual Notice of Change letter or an Evidence of Coverage letter outlining your parent’s plan benefits and notifying his or her of any changes to existing coverage.  It is important to review these notices closely because Medicare insurance policies make changes every year.  While there only may be small changes, more drastic changes can include changes to the monthly premium pricing, co-pay amounts and requirements, or even changes in providers and conditions coverage. 

It is also important to discuss with your parents about their own healthcare needs for the year as you help them prepare for Medicare open enrollment.  If they want to remain with their current doctors, you should confirm that those doctors are still “in network” for the Medicare plan so that you can avoid any unnecessary out of pocket expenses that stem from visiting “out of network” providers.  

Further, if your parent has been diagnosed with a new medical condition or will need to take prescription medication, you want to make sure that your parent has appropriate prescription drug coverage so that you do not have to pay out of pocket for expensive medication. There are news reports every day about seniors having changes to their health due to underlying conditions, as well as all Americans, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Any changes in care and the associated healthcare needs surrounding this should be discussed with your aging parent, as well as his or her healthcare provider, during this critical time.

As a practical point, help your aging parent watch out for scams as well.  Every year during the Medicare Open Enrollment time frame, seniors fall victim to Medicare scams. They innocently believe that the scammer is providing necessary services and, as a result, provide personal information to callers claiming they are assisting them with their enrollment.  Remind your aging parents that Medicare will never call them and ask them to change their plan over the phone.  Instead, they will be notified of changes to their plan in writing and should always confirm these communications with Medicare directly.  

As an adult child of a Florida senior, there is much to navigate. The healthcare needs of your aging parent are just the start of a larger long-term care planning conversation that needs to take place. We encourage you to contact our office so that we may help you with this issue, or any issue surrounding your long-term care needs.