BY: BETSY CHANDLER
While the weather is warm, and the days still afford us the opportunity for dinner on the deck, here at MIC Insurance, we are busy preparing for AEP. AEP stands for Annual Enrollment Period and is also referred to as Medicare Open Enrollment. The open enrollment period is from October 15th thru December 7th of each year. Our licensed agents have been diligently taking courses, attending webinars, and passing exams (with flying colors I might add!) We are happy to announce that our Medicare Part D agents are re-certified for the 2018 plan year with Silver Script, Humana, AARP (UHC), Aetna, and First Health. We are prepared to attend to your Part D questions during AEP and look forward to doing so.
A FEW THOUGHTS ON MEDICARE PART D
If you have original Medicare combined with a Medicare Supplement and Part D plan (prescription drug coverage) this is the only time of year you can change your Part D plan. Do you need to change plans? Not necessarily. Part D plans will stay in force unless you decide to change plans or carriers. If you submit an application for a new plan, the old plan will automatically be terminated. Often people ask our office if they need to re-enroll or “re-up” their plan. No, you do not need to pro-actively re-apply for a Part D each year unless you have let your plan lapse. The only way a carrier can terminate your plan is if you fail to pay the premium, or submit an application for a new plan during the Annual Enrollment Period. Should you review or change plans? That is the key question for sure. Ask yourself these five questions:
- Have your prescriptions changed during the year?
- Is your favorite pharmacy a preferred pharmacy with your plan for the coming plan year?
- Did you receive a notice from your carrier that they will no longer be covering a prescription you are taking?
- Did the premium increase by a significant amount?
- Have you been with the same Part D plan for more than 5 years?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, it would be wise to explore whether a different plan would suit your needs better, or if the current plan is still the best choice for next year.
PLEASE READ THE ANOC LETTER YOU RECEIVE FROM YOUR CARRIER
In accordance with the requirements of CMS (Center for Medicare Services) each Part D carrier must send out an annual ANOC information packet. ANOC stands for Annual Notice of Change. This document will contain any information about the changes in your plan for the coming year. It is prudent to take the time to read this document. If you do not find it stimulating to read from cover to cover, please at least scan it for the key points as mentioned above in the questions to ask yourself.
AEP AND MEDICARE SUPPLEMENTS
Medicare Supplement plans can be changed at any time during the year, and are not tied to the Medicare Open Enrollment period. You have a six month window of time which starts with your Medicare Part B effective date wherein you can change your Medicare Supplement plan without having to answer medical questions. After that six month period, most carriers require that you answer medical questions if you wish to change plans. Do not think that you cannot change plans. The questions vary by carrier, and many questions are time sensitive, such as within the past 1, 2 or 3 years.
AND NOW A WORD ON MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLANS
If you have enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan instead of staying with original Medicare, you can change your Medicare Advantage plan during AEP. Medicare Advantage plans can terminate the entire plan, and if so, will send you a notice that your coverage will be ending on December 31, and to please select another plan. It is extremely important that you read any documentation your plan sends you at this time.
WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU AND HAPPY TO DO SO! DO REACH OUT TO US WITH ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.