At 72 years old, Timothy had been on the same Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drug plan for 7 years. He was happy with the plan and very loyal to the insurance company because he felt they had treated him well over the years.

When I looked up his plan, I asked him why he had a plan with an $87 per month premium when there were comparable plans available for $0 per month. As I compared the features of two plans offered by the SAME insurance company side by side, I noticed that the $0 per month plan had lower co-pays across the board, a lower drug deductible, greater dental and vision benefits, and was a better plan in every way except one: the $87 per month plan allows members to visit a much larger of network of providers for a higher fee (both plans are PPOs).

I asked Timothy if that was still an important feature to him and he told me it wasn’t. He asked me why the insurance company hadn’t contacted him to tell him there was a plan that would save him money. I told him “It’s not the insurance company’s job to save you money. That’s your agent’s job. If your agent hasn’t been contacting you each Fall to review changes to your plan, changes to your health, and a discussion of new plans coming to your county, then you need a new agent.” Timothy now has a new agent!

Annual Medicare reviews are important, especially for Medicare Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Plans. Your healthcare needs and priorities will change over time, your prescriptions will change, your plan costs and benefits will change, and your plan’s network of providers will change, and the drug formulary will change. That’s why it’s important to do a Medicare review each fall to see if there is something better for you coming up for the new year. Any changes made will be effective January 1.