Medicare drug plans and Medicare Advantage/HMO plans can change every year…..sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. It is important to review the information sent by the current Medicare stand-alone drug plan or Medicare Advantage/HMO carrier in order to decide whether or not to make a change in a stand-alone prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage/HMO plan coverage during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment, which begins on October 15 and ends on December 7. Please remember that the change will not be effective until January 1, 2017.
**Each year Medicare requires the insurance carriers for stand-alone drug plans and for Medicare Advantage/HMO plans to provide their current members in September with information on their plan benefits for the upcoming year. Medicare beneficiaries on these plans should not assume that their 2016 plan coverages will be the same for 2017. (*NOTE: Medicare supplements are defined by Medicare so the benefits remain the same
If an individual is satisfied with what they see after reading the 2017 plan materials sent from their current carrier for the upcoming year, they don’t have to do anything. The stand-alone prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage/HMO will then automatically renew for 2017. If they are not satisfied with the changes in their benefit coverage for 2017, they should, during Medicare Annual Enrollment, look at what other options are available in their area and then make their selection for their new 2017 coverage during October 15 – December 7, 2016.
*NOTE: Medicare Supplement/Medigap policies do not change during Medicare Annual Enrollment. They are defined by Medicare but can be offered by different insurance carriers at different premiums. However, if an individual currently on a Medicare supplement/medigap policy wishes to change to a Medicare Advantage HMO that will cover both their medical and prescription drug costs so they can lessen their premium expenses, Medicare Annual Enrollment (October 15 – December 7) is when they can make that election to be effective January 1st, 2017.