No. Medicare requires the carriers for stand-alone drug plans and for Medicare Advantage/HMO plans to provide their current members with information in September on their plan benefits for the upcoming year.
Medicare drug plans and Medicare Advantage/HMO plans can change every year…..sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. It is important that you review the information sent to you by your current drug plan or Medicare Advantage/HMO carrier so that you can decide whether or not you should consider making a change in your plan coverage during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment, which begins on October 15 and ends on December 7. Please remember that if you do select to make a change, it will not be effective until January 1, 2016.
If you are happy with the plan materials from the carrier for the upcoming year, you don’t have to do anything. Your stand-alone drug plan or Medicare Advantage/HMO will then automatically renew for 2016.
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 during Medicare Annual Enrollment 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, Medicare 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/medigap policy.