Redetermination Made Easy

Reviewing medicare plans annually can save money for its beneficiaries

by Elizabeth Ann Morabito

Despite her sharp mind at 104 years of age, the complexity of Medicare leaves Rose Fink unsure about her ability to determine if her coverage meets her needs during the Medicare redetermination period every year. She relies on John Howland, a volunteer counselor with the Michigan Medicare Assistance Program. She knows he will spot any issues, ask the right questions, and take the necessary actions to ensure everything is in order.

Rose Fink, and elderly woman with short gray hair and a floral blouse, sits in an armchair and smiles for the camera
Rose Fink, the oldest
resident at Meer
Independent Living
Apartments and recipient of
MMAP services. Photo by
Elizabeth Ann Morabito

In 2017, Howland first visited Meer Independent Living Apartments in West Bloomfield, a Jewish Senior Life facility where Fink holds the distinction of being its oldest resident. He had been recruited to provide a Medicare information session for the residents. That was when Fink started meeting with Howland one-on-one and he’s been connecting with residents and holding group sessions at Meer ever since.

Every year, Medicare beneficiaries must complete the redetermination process which involves reviewing and reassessing their eligibility and coverage. Even though most plans will automatically renew if no changes are made, this annual review ensures that the plan continues to meet healthcare needs and remains cost-effective. Insurance companies often adjust the terms of their plans, including premiums, deductibles, copayments, and covered services.

There are ways that the cost of Medicare cost can be made more reasonable.

Rose Fink, MMAP region 1-B client

Additionally, changes in one’s health status, medications, or financial situation over the past year might necessitate adjustments to coverage. Failing to review and update the plan could result in higher expenses or inadequate coverage.

For years, Fink was enrolled in the same Medigap plan that was initially designed to cover a higher volume of prescription medications than she currently required. This plan would have caused her to overpay for coverage if she had continued with it.

She was relieved to discover she could save money by switching plans “There are ways that the cost of Medicare cost can be made more reasonable,” she says. “John helped me every step of the way.”

MMAP volunteer counselors across the state are available to help seniors with the redetermination process. They help compare plans, understand benefits, and resolve billing issues, ensuring that beneficiaries receive appropriate coverage without the risk of overpaying for their medications or other healthcare costs. With seniors oftentimes living on a limited income, the cost savings can alleviate any potential financial burden.

Howland’s dedication to his work and the well-being of the residents he assists exemplifies the critical role MMAP plays in the lives of seniors. By providing expert guidance and support, MMAP ensures that seniors like Rose Fink can confidently navigate the complex world of Medicare. This not only results in significant financial savings but also offers invaluable peace of mind.

Fink can’t compliment Howland’s giving nature enough. “People like him are such a blessing,” she shares. “John is a very kind person. He’s willing to go out of his way. He’s willing to come at any time and he has the utmost patience.”

To find a local certified MMAP counselor, explore their regional contact information listed by county.