Medicare stand-alone drug plans and Medicare Advantage/HMO plans can change from year to year. The parameters of the drug benefits are defined each year by Medicare; the stand-alone drug plans and the Medicare Advantage plans can better those parameters, but they cannot lessen them.
Prescription drugs may be covered on your current 2016 plan; however, they may either no longer be covered, or covered at a higher tier or covered at a higher cost. If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, there may be changes in your copays for medical benefits and/or some of those benefits may be offered under a “buy-up” plan (meaning you would need to pay a monthly premium to receive them).
In September, people who are now on Medicare drug plans and Medicare Advantage/HMO plans received from their current Medicare stand-alone drug plan or Medicare Advantage/HMO carrier information on any changes in their 2016 benefits for 2017 order to decide whether or not to make a change. It is important to review these changes to see how those change may or may not affect you for 2017.
If individuals are happy with your current plan’s changes, they don’t have to do anything and they will automatically be renewed for 2017.
If, however, an individual decides they want to make a change in their stand-alone prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage/HMO plan coverage during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment, their new plan change election can be submitted beginning October 15 thru December 7. The change will not be effective until January 1, 2017.