Every September Medicare beneficiaries are inundated with mailings from Medicare insurance carriers in anticipation of Medicare’s Annual Enrollment which begins on October 15 and ends on December 7.
Medicare drug plans and Medicare Advantage/HMO plans can change every year…..sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. It is important that if you are on one of these plans, that you review the information sent to you by your current carrier so that you can decide whether or not you should consider a change in plan coverage to be effective January 1st.
People who are on a Medicare supplement/medigap policy have a stand-alone drug plan. Those stand-alone drug plans, as well as Medicare Advantage/HMO plans can change from year to year. If you are happy with those changes, you don’t have to do anything. Your stand-alone drug plan or Medicare Advantage/HMO will then automatically renew for 2015.
If, however, the plan’s coverages or costs have changed and/or your specific medical needs (i.e., in the case of a Medicare Advantage/HMO) have changed, you may want to check out other insurance plans/carriers to see if there is another stand-alone drug plan or Medicare Advantage/HMO plan that will better fit your current needs.
If you are already on a Medicare supplement/medigap policy, these policies do not change. They are defined by Medicare and are offered by insurance companies. Insurance companies cannot change the benefits as defined by Medicare; they can, however, offer the coverage at different premiums for the same plan benefits. If you think you want to consider changing from a Medicare supplement/medigap policy to a Medicare Advantage/HMO plan, Annual Enrollment is your time to select this change. Should you decide to make the change to a Medicare Advantage/HMO plan, your election onto that plan will automatically terminate your stand-alone drug plan. It will be your responsibility to contact your medigap carrier regarding cancelation of your Medicare supplement plan.