Medicare Open Enrollment Begins

Open enrollment for Medicare, including Part D prescription drug coverage began yesterday, October 15, and runs through December 7, 2013. The enrollment process will remain the same as it has in previous years. Coverage for enrollees begins January 1, 2014.

Please note that Medicare enrollment is completely separate from the state Health Insurance Exchanges that opened October 1 as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). If you have Medicare now or are planning to enroll for the first time, you do not need to purchase insurance through your state’s Exchange. You can enroll or make changes to your current Medicare coverage options, including Part D, at Medicare.gov.

What does the enrollment period mean for Medicare beneficiaries?
Each year during Medicare’s annual enrollment period, current Medicare beneficiaries are allowed to make changes to their Medicare plan choices. Beneficiaries who are enrolled in a Part D Medicare prescription drug plan can review their plan choices and determine whether they want to stick with their current plan, or switch to a new plan. The costs and benefits of each plan vary from year to year, so it is important for beneficiaries to carefully review their options and make the best choices possible for the coming year.

As a result of the ACA, the prescription drug coverage gap, commonly known as the donut hole, will be completely phased out by 2020, reducing the percentage of drug costs that beneficiaries pay out of pocket. For example, in 2014, your out-of-pocket cost percentage for generic drugs will be reduced from 79% to 72%. Learn more.

Beneficiaries who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan (or Medicare Part C) can review their plan choices and decide if they want to keep their current plan or switch to a new plan.

What if I'm satisfied with my current coverage?
If you have Medicare coverage and, for example, want to keep the same Medicare Part D prescription drug plan next year, you do not need to do anything during the annual enrollment period. 

Note: Plan premiums may change; you should have been notified by your provider of any changes planned for next year.

Visit Medicare.gov
For more information on the Annual Open Enrollment Period and coverage options in your area, please visit www.medicare.gov.

We also encourage you to check out "Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Annual Open Enrollment: Questions & Answers," a useful resource co-sponsored by Parkinson's Action Network (PAN) and distributed by Medicare Access for Patients Rx (MAPRx).

Please feel free to forward this e-mail to your friends and family so  they are also aware of their Medicare and Part D options for 2014. 

 

Date originally posted: October 16, 2013.