Renown Medicare Advantage
2021 could not be a better year to be on a Medicare Advantage plan in Nevada. Insurance companies this year are offering great plan benefits. Many are also including additional services such as dental and vision coverage. For the first time, Renown is now offering a brand new Renown Medicare Advantage plan. It’s available to anyone on Medicare Parts A and B. This will be the new Renown Preferred Plan for 2021! In Reno, Renown is our largest single provider of care. Renown covers more doctors, hospitals, and medical facilities than any other group. This plan would be available to all members living in Washoe County on Medicare parts A and B.
You can sign up for the Renown Medicare Plan by following that link!
Annual Enrollment Period
Medicare Annual Enrollment (AEP) occurs every year between October 15th and December 7th. In Nevada, this is Medicare Advantage and Part D annual enrollment. There is no Medicare annual enrollment for Medicare Supplement plans. The legal name is the Annual Enrollment Period or (AEP). During this time you’re allowed to:
- Change your Medicare Advantage plan.
- Enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan or
- Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and return to original Medicare.
Most of our clients are reviewing their Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period. New plans come out every year. For example, the Renown Medicare Advantage plan is new for 2021.
Enroll in the Renown Medicare plan by clicking on that link!
Back to Basics
It’s not often that a client will drop a Medicare Advantage plan and return to original Medicare. Most people on a Medicare Advantage plan are going to stay on that type of plan. Usually with the same insurance company but sometimes with a different company. Most members on a Medicare Supplement are going to stay on that exact same plan. They’re not usually changing insurance companies. This is because of the requirement to answer health questions. Remember there is no open enrollment for Medicare Supplement plans. If you don’t pass health questions you can’t switch.
Making the Switch to Renown Medicare Advantage
During this time, some people will move from a Medicare Supplement to a Medicare Advantage plan. Here are some pros and cons to switching:
- Monthly premiums (monthly costs) for Medicare Advantage plans are low. They are usually much lower than Medicare Supplement plans, especially if you’re 80+.
- Many Medicare Advantage plans include dental, vision, and hearing aid benefits. Medicare Supplement plans only cover these services for an extra cost.
- Almost all new Medicare Advantage plans also include prescription drugs. This is known as an MAPD or Medicare Advantage + Prescription Drug plan. The Medicare with Hometown Health Plan is a version of this MAPD.
- Medicare Advantage plans will limit the doctors you can see. – This is probably the most important. With a Medicare Supplement plan, you can see any doctor who accepts Medicare. This is a nationwide doctor list. With a Medicare Advantage plan, you need to stick by their doctor’s list. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The new Renown Medicare Advantage plan has one of the largest lists of providers here in Northern Nevada.
- It’s usually more expensive to receive medical services on a Medicare Advantage plan. The most popular Medicare Supplement plans are Plan F and Plan G. Members on a Plan F have no co-pays, deductibles, or coinsurance. Instead, they have 100% coverage for medical services. (excluding prescriptions). Members on a Plan G have a once per year $198 deductible (2020) and 100% coverage after that. In comparison, a Medicare Advantage plan will include different co-pays based on certain medical services. These co-pays are generally very low, but not as low as a Medicare Supplement Plan G or F.
- If you switch from a Medicare Supplement plan to an Advantage plan, there are very strict guidelines. They may prevent you from switching back to a Supplement. For example, if it’s your first time on a Medicare Advantage plan and you’ve been on it less than one year. Other rare circumstances such as fraud also apply.
Returning to Original Medicare
Very few of our clients end up dropping their Medicare Advantage or Supplement plan and returning to Original Medicare. Original Medicare would be Parts A and B only. This may happen, and usually for one specific reason: If the member cannot qualify for a Medicare Supplement plan but still needs to be able to visit any doctor that takes Medicare.
There is a HUGE risk here. Parts A and B only cover roughly 80% of a member’s medical expenses. That means the member needs to cover the additional 20%. Usually, a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage plan will cover most of this additional amount. However without this in place, the member is now responsible for this cost. There is no limit to this 20%. Your bill could be 20% of $100 or $10,000! Whatever Medicare and your doctor decided that service costs, you’re responsible for about 20%.
For prescriptions, Original Medicare only covers limited prescription drugs. These are mostly drugs administered in a hospital setting. Anyone entitled to Medicare Part A and/or enrolled in Medicare Part B is eligible for a Part D plan. You do not need a Medicare Supplement to choose a Part D plan. Part D plans never ask health questions, and they don’t restrict the doctors you can see. They do have a list of pharmacies they work with, and most are nationwide. CVS or Walgreens are a couple of examples.
After the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is the Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Open Enrollment occurs between January 1st and March 31st of each year. There are limited changes you can make during this time. This strictly applies to members who are on a Medicare Advantage plan.
If you’re on a Medicare Advantage plan, during this time you can:
- Make a one-time switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
- Return to original Medicare (Parts A and B only) without a drug plan
- Go back to original Medicare (Parts A and B only) and choose a Part D prescription drug plan.
When you return to original Medicare, this allows you the option to complete an application for a Medicare Supplement plan. Keep in mind that your acceptance of the Medicare Supplement plan is not guaranteed. If you don’t pass health questions you could be denied.
It’s always best to at least evaluate a Medicare Advantage plan. Health questions are never asked for a Medicare Advantage plan. The new Renown Medicare plan would be worth considering for 2021. If you need help signing up for this plan, you can speak to a Reno Health Insurance broker in our office.