Learn about adding or switching Medicare Advantage or Part D plans

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is Open through December 7. Learn about adding or switching Medicare Advantage or Part D plans.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) has been open since Oct.15, but it’s closing Dec. 7. Are you interested in adding or switching Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Part D* (prescription drug coverage) for the 2012 plan year? AEP is a time when you can join, switch or drop these plans for an effective date of January 1.

How can I get a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan during AEP?

There are a variety Medicare Advantage plan types. All Medicare Advantage plans offer medical and hospital coverage. Some offer additional benefits, like eye, hearing, or prescription drug coverage. Once you’ve researched plans available in your area (Medicare.gov’s plan finder tool is a good place to start), you just need to contact the private insurer who provides the plan you want for details on how to enroll.

How can I add drug coverage during AEP?

You can add a Medicare Part D plan to certain types of  Medicare Advantage plans that don’t already include it. You may switch from your existing plan to a Medicare Advantage plan that has prescription drug coverage built into the benefits. Or, if you are using Original Medicare (Parts A and B), you may join a Medicare Part D plan for prescription drug coverage. See “It’s time to act” below to learn how.

Switching or Dropping Plans

If you’re an Original Medicare beneficiary joining a Medicare Advantage plan:

Medicare Advantage plan members remain enrolled in Original Medicare (and continue to pay their Part B premium), so there is no need to drop Original Medicare when you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

If you have a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan, you should drop your Medicare Supplement Insurance plan once enrolled in Medicare Advantage by contacting your plan’s provider.

If you’re switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan – or from one Part D plan to another Part D plan:

You need to enroll in the new plan you’ve selected by contacting the private insurance company that administers that plan. You can often enroll online, by phone or by filling out forms and sending them in. You do not need to drop your existing Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. The plan you were previously enrolled in will end automatically when your new plan begins.

– This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear

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This Year’s Annual Enrollment Period is Still Open! Do You Have the Coverage You’ll Need for 2012?

If you’re enrolled in Medicare, you can make changes to your Medicare plan during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), October 15 – December 7. This enrollment period is for people who wish to join, switch or drop their Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) or prescription drug (Medicare Part D)plan. Once the Annual Enrollment Period closes, you will not be able to change your plan again until next year (except under special circumstances). If you take a good look at your specific health care needs, you’ll should be able to decide if you need to take advantage of this year’s AEP while there’s still time.

Assess Your Health Care Needs

How do you know if you need to join, switch or drop your Medicare Advantage or prescription drug coverage during this year’s AEP? There are a few questions you can ask yourself to help assess your health care coverage needs. The answers to these questions can help you decide which kind of Medicare plan is right for you.

  1. How often do you visit the doctor? If you only see your doctor a few times a year, Original Medicare (Medicare Parts A and B) may meet your health care coverage needs. In terms of costs, Original Medicare generally requires only a Part B premium. If you don’t use medical services, you may not pay more than this premium.
  2. Do you have a chronic disease that requires monitoring? Chronic diseases may require intensive health care with frequent visits to doctors or specialists. If you have a chronic disease, many Medicare Advantage plans (Medicare Part C) provide the wide-ranging coverage you might need. If you choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will still have to pay your Part B premium. Some Medicare Advantage plans require a separate premium, as well.
  3. Are you willing to change doctors or pay more to see the doctor you choose? A Medicare Advantage HMO plan requires you to choose from doctors and specialists within a specific network. Your current doctor may or may not be in this network. If they are not and you don’t want to change doctors, you may want to consider a different type of Medicare Advantage plan. Another option might be a Medicare Advantage PPO plan, which does allow you to go out-of-network for some doctors, although you will usually have to pay a larger share of the cost of your care.
  4. How many prescription medications do you take? Medicare Part D helps pay for the prescription drugss you use. Coverage is not automatic, which means you must enroll in a Part D plan if you want coverage. Depending on your prescription coverage needs, you can either enroll in a standalone plan you can use with your Original Medicare coverage, or you can look for a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription drug coverage.

Look Back Over the Last Year

Another way to assess your Medicare coverage needs is to consider your health over the last year. Have you been seeing the doctor more and more often or been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition? Have you needed multiple hospitalizations? If your health care needs seem to require a broader range of coverage than in the past, you may want to consider joining a Medicare Advantage plan during this year’s AEP. Most Medicare Advantage plans offer effective, convenient coordinated care between network doctors and specialists that can help ensure allthat your health care needs will be met in the coming year.

Many Medicare Advantage plans include additional benefits, such as dental, vision, hearing and wellness care, and may also include flu shots and other regularly-scheduled immunizations, dietary and education programs and even health club memberships. There is still time to join a Medicare Advantage plan during this year’s AEP if these benefits sound like they would be useful to you in the coming year.

– This information was provide by Medicare Made Clear

 

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How Does Medicare Renewal Work?

In most cases, your current Medicare coverage will renew automatically each year unless you make changes to your coverage, whether you have Original Medicare (Parts A and B), a plan (Part C) or Part D prescription drug coverage. This is a worry-free way to make sure you have health care coverage year after year. But it still might be a good idea to research other options just to make sure you’ll have the coverage you need for 2012.

Have Your Health Care or Financial Needs Changed?

Before choosing to stay with your current plan, it might be helpful to review your health care needs over the past year. Have you gone to the doctor more than usual or started taking more medications? Have you been diagnosed with a chronic disease or had frequent visits to the hospital? If you’re looking for a more coordinated care experience or additional benefits Original Medicare might not provide, a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan might be a good option. These plans bundle your coverage for hospital stays with coverage for doctor visits, preventive care, and things like vision and hearing exams. Some plans may also include prescription drug coverage.

It’s also important to balance your health care needs with your budget. If you have Original Medicare, you may have noticed there are some expenses it doesn’t cover. One alternative is a Medicare Advantage plan, but there are other options, too. Are you mostly satisfied with Original Medicare, but could use help with the expenses Original Medicare doesn’t cover? Many people who choose Original Medicare add the extra coverage of Medicare Supplement Insurance to fill in these gaps.

Has Your Current Plan Made Changes For the New Plan Year?

If you are a member of a Medicare Advantage or Part D Prescription Drug plan, or have Medicare Supplement Insurance, you should receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) each year. Some changes might affect whether or not you wish to renew your current plan, so be sure to review these changes carefully. Examples of common changes include:

  • Cost Sharing – Plans can increase their premiums and other costs from year to year. Can you still afford your current plan, or would it be helpful to research lower-cost options?
  • Coverage Area – Will your current plan still be offered in your area next year?
  • Drug Coverage – Sometimes the drug coverage offered by your Medicare Advantage or Part D Prescription Drug plan will change from year to year. Your ANOC will tell you, for example, if a formulary medication you are currently taking is either not on the upcoming year’s formulary or if a particular drug’s cost sharing or coverage will be limited in the upcoming year.

Ready for Next Year?

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is from October 15 – December 7 this year. During this time, you can join, switch or drop your Medicare coverage. Once the AEP has closed, you can’t make changes to your Medicare coverage until next year (except in special circumstances). If your needs have changed and you don’t want to renew your current coverage, you still have time to take advantage of this year’s AEP. One helpful way to compare plans available in your area is the Medicare.gov plan finder tool. Simply enter your ZIP code to get started. Based on the information you provide, you will see a list of plans available in your area. You can compare plans against each other or against your existing plan. Then you can be confident in your health care choices for the coming year, whether that means automatically renewing your existing coverage or switching to a plan that will better meet your needs.

– This information was provided by Medicare Made Clear

http://turning65-newtomedicare.com – Are you a senior age 65+ looking for Medicare Supplemental Insurance? Call 909-790-7748. We will explain your options and find the right plan for you.