Medicare can be complicated. As an agent, it’s your job to help clients understand how yearly changes and plan options can benefit them, as well as work through any changes that need to be made to their existing plans to make sure your clients are receiving the care they need at a premium they can afford. The Medicare and You 2021 handbook is a great tool for clients and agents, alike, and provides key information to discuss with your clients about the upcoming open enrollment period.
An Important Tool for Agents: Medicare and You
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services release the Medicare and You handbook annually. The handbook summarizes all Medicare benefits, rights, protections, available plans, and recent changes, and can be accessed in print or online. Print copies are sent to Medicare households each year via the CMS.
Possibly the most important part of the annual handbook is found on page 2: the What’s New section. This section outlines several major changes Medicare beneficiaries should be aware of moving into Medicare enrollment for the following year.
Medicare and You 2021 Changes
This year’s What’s New section includes three distinct changes coming to Medicare next year. These changes revolve around the changing state of the coronavirus pandemic, recently lowered insulin costs and the new opportunity for those with end-stage renal disease to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans.
Regarding coronavirus, the Medicare and You 2021 handbook point beneficiaries back to Medicare.gov, where the CMS has compiled several resources for seniors. Medicare beneficiaries may also call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) for COVID-19 updates. TTY users are invited to call 1-877-486-2049.
It is very likely that some of your clients are facing high insulin costs, but a new ruling from President Trump and the CMS will change that for countless Medicare beneficiaries next year. In an announcement released in May of this year, the CMS revealed that 1,700 Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans will now include a maximum copay of $35 for a month’s supply of insulin. This low copay is only available to those enrolled in plans that participate in the “Part D Senior Savings Model,” so be sure to speak with your clients who take insulin and make sure that they enroll in one of these plans.
Another major change in this year’s handbook is that individuals with end-stage renal disease can enroll in Medicare Advantage plans starting during the 2021 open enrollment period. ESRD, also known as chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, occurs when the kidneys fail to filter waste and excess fluid from an individual’s bloodstream. Previously, patients with ESRD were only eligible for plans with high deductibles and mediocre coverage. This change will allow countless Americans to receive the treatment they need at a more affordable price. If you have any clients with ESRD, make sure to reach out and let them know about this massive change.
Other changes include coverage for 12 acupuncture visits in a 90-day period for chronic lower back pain and expanded telehealth and virtual health care services.
We hope this information on the Medicare and You 2021 handbook is helpful to you.
Empower Brokerage is dedicated to helping you educate your clients on the insurance they need and staying on top of their health. Whether it’s through webinar training, one-on-one calls, seminars, or marketing plans. We want you to be successful. Give us a call if you have any questions 888-539-1633.
Originally from the snow-capped Rockies, Macee moved to Texas in 2016 to pursue an undergraduate degree in Strategic Communication. She currently serves as a writer and editor for Empower Brokerage, as well as the marketing manager for Preferred Senior Advisors. Macee is also working on her Master’s degree in management, and hopes to inspire others with her passion for telling stories through varied digital and print marketing efforts.