Discover your options if you missed the Annual Election Period for Medicare for 2015.
Medicare’s Annual Election Period (also called the Annual Enrollment Period or AEP) ended on December 7, 2015.
AEP is great, because it gives you the chance to review your coverage from last year and make sure it’s still the best coverage for you heading into 2015.
We always encourage folks on Medicare to at least review their prescription drug coverage during the AEP because drug plans can and often do change from year to year.
In a worst case scenario, a drug you take that was covered in 2014 might not be covered at all in 2015, or may be covered with a different – sometimes higher – co-pay. So, running a check on your drug coverage is always a good precautionary step.
So, if you missed AEP for any reason and the worst does happen to you in 2015, what can you do?
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan you can take advantage of something called the “Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period” or MADP. But, be aware that you have fewer options with regard to the types of coverage you can change to during the MADP.
During the Disenrollment Period your only options are to switch to “Original Medicare” and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug coverage. Before you make a change like this our agents recommend you take the following steps:
#1 — Know the dates: The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period runs from January 1 to February 14. So, you’ve got less time to determine if the drug coverage tied to your Medicare Advantage plan is still right for you.
#2 – Review your prescription drug coverage: Research and compare the different Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans (PDP) that cover the medications you need and compare those costs with the costs associated with the Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan (MAPD) you’re currently enrolled in to make sure the cost-savings add up.
# 3 — Use it before you lose it: If you drop Medicare Advantage your only option is Original Medicare, and a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan (PDP). Original Medicare does not provide coverage for things like dental, vision and hearing – something many Medicare Advantage plans do cover. And, Medicare Advantage plans limit your spending on medical care to $6,700 or less, but with Original Medicare there are no limitations on cost-sharing, which means you could spend more than $6,700 out of your own pocket for covered medical expenses in 2015.
#4 – Look into Medicare Supplements: As mentioned, Original Medicare doesn’t place any limits on your portion of the cost for covered medical expenses; something Medicare Advantage does. If you elect to cancel your Medicare Advantage plan, investigate Medicare Supplements.
But, before you try to make a switch be aware that, in most states, insurers have the option to deny your application for a Medicare Supplement plan, unless you apply within your first seven months of being enrolled in Medicare Part B.
#5 – Consider a prescription drug discount card: You can always investigate prescription drug discount cards that can save you anywhere from 10% to 40% on prescription drugs at participating pharmacies.