Money in the Middle

Sandwich Generation Talking About Money Up, Down and Across Generations

Get info on Medicare Plan Changes: Don’t Delay

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If you are a Medicare beneficiary, or helping a Medicare-aged person with their finances, this is the time to shop and compare Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans.  

So make sure you read the Notice of Annual Change – that comes from the insurance company.  Look for changes in premium as well as changes in co-pays and benefits – since it is the total of these changes that will impact your costs of health care.

Or, if your health has changed or your medications have changed, this is the time to look at options and see if the plan you have is right for you now.

Here’s how this works:  marketing begins October 1.  that gives you six weeks before you can apply – time to be spent shopping and comparing whether the plan you have is the right plan.  Beginning Nov. 15 – Dec. 31, changes can be made to Part D plans.  If you are in a Medicare Advantage plan you have until March 31, 2010 to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan. 

If you’ve got a Medicare Supplement plan,  you aren’t impacted by the open enrollment period unless you want to switch into a Medicare Advantage plan. 

Medicare said that rates on Part D plans are up only slightly over last year.  But, rates on some Medicare Advantage plans are changing a lot and some plans, especially Private-fee-for-service (PFFS) plans, are being eliminated.   

The Medicare.gov website has information as well as comparison tools to help you figure out potential options.  You should also consider speaking with your insurer to see what options they may have and to a broker who represents a number of companies so you can compare rates and benefits among companies.  Try a site like ehealth.com where you can get comparisons and the assistance of an agent.

 Like open enrollment for healthcare at an employer, these dates are firm.  So make sure you take steps now to compare plans and prices to make sure you’ve got the right plan for 2010. 

Here are the upcoming deadlines for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans:

  2010 Medicare Advantage & Part D Prescription Drug Enrollment

October 1 – Marketing begins for 2010 Medicare Advantage & Part D Rx Drug plans

 November – Medicare and You” 2010 arrives in the mail

November 15th – Annual enrollment begins for Medicare Advantage & Part D Rx Drug plans

December 31 – Enrollment deadline for 2010 Part D Rx Drug plans.

March 31 – Enrollment deadline for switching Medicare Advantage plans for remainder of 2010

 Resources:

Medicare.gov open enrollment information and phone numbers

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Written by Laura Rossman

October 5, 2009 at 7:22 pm

One Response

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  1. here is the link to the questions and answers from medicare rgarding 2010 premiums and deductibles.
    http://questions.medicare.gov/cgi-bin/medicare.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=2260

    Here is a link to the Medicare 2010 booket –beneficiaries should receive a copy in November.
    http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/10050.pdf

    Laura Rossman

    October 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm


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