We all know that Medicare’s Fall Open Enrollment happens every year from October 15th to December 7th. During Fall Open Enrollment, people who have Medicare can make changes to their Medicare coverage. This includes changes in your Part C or Part D plans, or switching back or to a Part C from Traditional Medicare.
Many, however, neglect to take stock of their Part D plan. They figure that they are happy with the plan they picked out two years ago and are okay with just letting it continue. This could be a big mistake, though. Every year, plans change. Your plan should have sent you an Annual Notice of Change and/or Evidence of Coverage by September 30, 2013.
These notices should list whether there are any changes in your Part D plan’s costs, benefits and rules in 2014. If you have not received these notices, contact your plan and ask that these notices be sent to you. You should also contact your plan directly and ask that a complete plan formulary (list of covered drugs) be sent to you. Your plan may have changed, increasing your out-of-pocket costs or even dropping one or more of your drugs from the list of covered drugs.
Here is some helpful advice from the Medicare Rights Center: When looking at different Part D plans, ask yourself the following questions:
• Does the Part D plan cover all the medications I’m taking?
• Does the Part D plan require me to follow certain rules, before I can get my drugs?
• Does the Part D plan work with the pharmacy I go to or have a mail-order option? (You pay the least if you get your drugs from a preferred, in-network pharmacy. You may also pay less for drugs if you use mail-order options.)
• How much is the Part D plan’s monthly premium and annual deductible?
• How much will I pay for each drug that I need?
• What is this Part D plan’s star rating?
To find and learn about different Part D plans in your area, call 800-MEDICARE or go online and visit www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan.
Michelle Allen, LCSW, is a care coordinator at Hurley Elder Care Law. Hurley Elder Care Law, located in Atlanta, GA, is dedicated to the process of long-term care and estate planning. They offer services in the following areas of practice: Veterans Benefits; Medicaid Planning; Estate Planning; Asset Protection; Guardianship/Conservatorship; and more. For more info visit www.hurleyeclaw.com