Each year, Medicare health and drug plans make changes to their costs, coverages, and to providers and pharmacies that are in their networks. As such, during Medicare Open Enrollment (October 15th – December 7th), all Medicare recipients should review their current policies to ensure that their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year will best meet their needs. Open Enrollment provides the opportunity to shop for a new Part D drug plan, switch from Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan, or vice versa.
Research shows that people with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage should be able to lower their costs by shopping among various plans each year, as a different Part D plan in your area may cover the drugs at a lower cost.
In order to research the plan that works best for you, recipients should always review the materials their plans send, such as the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). If plans are changing, Medicare recipients should make sure their plans will still meet their needs for next year. If the plan is not changing and is still meeting a recipient’s needs, they do not have to do anything. Any changes you make during the open enrollment period will take effect on January 1st.
In order to compare plans, you can go to medicare.gov. Your area Aging Life Care Specialist may also assist with this process. In addition, you can contact your local Department of Aging and ask to speak to Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) counselors for assistance in weighing which plan might be best for you.
For assistance in the Annapolis, MD area, Aging Life Care Specialist, Wendy Miller, LCSW-C, CSW-G can be contacted at 410-834-1452, and Anne Arundel Department of Aging SHIP counselors can be contacted at 410-222-4257.