Medicare’s Open Enrollment is an annual period of time (October 15ththrough December 7th) when current Medicare beneficiaries can review their Medicare Drug Coverage and Medicare Health (Part C) plans and make changes, if they choose, for the following year.
CMS Open Enrollment Video
During this time, everyone enrolled in Medicare should check how their plan coverage works. As a beneficiary, it is your right to make changes and the responsibility to do it within the designated seven week period is yours, as well.
Ask these questions to prepare for Open Enrollment:
Is the cost (premium) of my plan changing?
Will my plan still cover the drugs I need?
Are there any drug restrictions?
How does my plan coordinate with any state or federal benefits, if I receive these? (Examples: V-Pharm, Extra Help-Low Income Subsidy, or Medicaid)
Is there a plan that fits my needs better than my current one?
Watch your mail. Your current drug plan will send you information in the fall about any changes they are making called an Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC). For example, they may change the cost of the premium, deductible and co-pays, or the list of drugs included in the formulary. You can compare your current plan to other plans and choose the one that is best for you.
If your current plan is discontinued, open enrollment may be your only opportunity to choose a different plan. Or you may choose to switch plans because you find a choice that better meets your needs.
You may also get health plan marketing materials, like brochures, from insurance companies that offer Medicare health and prescription drug plans. Remember – plans aren’t allowed to call or come to your home without an invitation from you.
Doing your homework during Open Enrollment can be confusing, but here’s the good news: Free personalized advice is available for Medicare beneficiaries in Vermont, through Senior Solutions and the other non-profit Vermont Area Agencies on Aging. If you need help, residents of Windham and Windsor Counties, get your questions answered by calling the HelpLine at 800-642-5119 (toll-free) or 802-885-2669.
Remember: October 15th through December 7th. Mark your calendar with these important dates!