Medicare Annual Notice of Change: Do You Know What Can Change?

Medicare Annual Notice of Change Letters

Receiving updates on your Medicare plan through the mail is convenient, but without person-to-person communication, it can be a bit hard to read.

The Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) is arguably the most important piece of mail you’ll receive regarding your Medicare plan each year. Ignoring it is something that is highly discouraged, so it’s important that you read it and actually know how to read it.

The fact is, most plans go through some changes during the ANOC, so the costs and benefits in place on December 31 may be vastly different than the costs and benefits that follow the proceeding morning. Here are changes that may or may not occur:

  • The insurance company that sponsors the plan may not offer this particular plan next year.
  • The plan may simply not be available in your county. Plans sometimes withdraw from certain service areas or don’t renew contracts with Medicare. Some occasionally go out of business or are terminated by Medicare.
  • The plan may alter its benefit design. For example, it may charge a coinsurance instead of a copay, or add a deductible.
  • The plan could also change the amounts of any of the costs associated with the plan such as premiums, deductibles, maximum out-of-pocket, and/or copays/coinsurance. 

The plan must ensure that you get your ANOC no later than September 30 so that you can compare the costs and the benefits for next year with those of other plans.

You don’t want to be left without coverage or an unexpected charge next year, so make sure to contact SeniorChoices NW to schedule an annual review of your plan and to see if there is another that may better fit your needs. SeniorChoices NW has agents throughout Oregon and SW Washington, including Aloha, Beaverton, Camas, Canby, Clackamas, Eugene, Gresham, Keizer, King City, Lake Oswego, Portland, Redmond, Salem, Tigard, Tualatin, Vancouver, West Linn, Wilsonville, Woodland, and more.

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