Each year Medicare changes the parameters of a Medicare prescription drug benefit. In addition, whether you are on a stand-alone drug plan or have the drug benefit included in your Medicare Advantage/HMO plan, each insurance company can change the drug formulary (listing of drugs covered by the plan, showing the tier and cost of the drug for the upcoming year) from year to year. Not all prescription drugs covered by your current plan this year will necessarily continue to be covered next year by that plan or at the same tier or at the same cost.
In September, individuals who are already on Medicare stand-alone prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage/HMO plans (with a drug plan imbedded in the plan) received from their current Medicare stand-alone drug plan or Medicare Advantage/HMO carrier information on changes to their prescription drug formulary for 2016 so that the Medicare beneficiary can decide whether or not they may need to make a change. It is important to review these changes to see how those change may or may not affect you for 2016.
If individuals are happy with your current plan’s changes, they don’t have to do anything and they will automatically be renewed with the plan they are on. However, if a change is needed, Medicare Annual Enrollment (AEP) lasts only from 10/15/2015 thru 12/7/2015 when the change will be effective 1/1/2016.