Every year between October 15 – December 7, Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to change their insurance choices. Both the stand-alone drug plans and the Medicare Advantage HMO plans can change for the next year. Beneficiaries on stand-alone drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans received annual notice of change information from their current insurance carriers in September that identifies changes in premium, medical coverages and/or drug plan coverages so that they will be prepared to compare their current carrier’s benefits with the benefits offered by other carriers available to in their area.
Medicare supplements are different. They are defined by Medicare, offered by insurance companies. Only Medicare can change the benefits of a Medicare supplement/medigap policy. Medicare’s last modernized the plan options occurred in 2010. What can differ is the premium required by the different carriers. Beneficiaries on these supplements and stand-alone drug plans, can decide during annual enrollment to adjust their drug plan selection or switch to a Medicare Advantage plan with drug coverage.
All Medicare beneficiaries should take this opportunity to review their coverage before December 7 when Annual Enrollment ends so that they are not unhappily surprised in 2014 with the HMO or drug plan they decided to remain covered by.