Changes in the 2012 Medicare Part D enrollment period may be confusing to some Medicare beneficiaries
What you need to know about the Part D enrollment period for plans effective in 2012
It’s no secret that you have a limited amount of time to compare Medicare Part D Plans for any given year but many people may not be aware of the change to the Annual Enrollment Period for 2012 plans.
If you do not enroll in a Part D Plan during the Annual Enrollment Period you could be without a Medicare prescription drug plan for the following year or may be stuck with your current plan that has changes that are not in your best interest. Here’s what you need to know about enrolling in a Part D Plan for 2012:
- The enrollment period for 2012 Part D Plans will begin on October 15, 2011 and end on December 7, 2011. This is a change from years past when you were able to enroll between November 15 and December 31.
- The last application submitted during the Annual Enrollment Period will become effective on January 1, 2012. In other words if you submit an application but change your mind, as long as you are still in the enrollment period, you can submit another application.
- The plan you choose during the enrollment period cannot be changed after the enrollment period ends unless you are entitled a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) or are taking advantage of the new SEP to switch to a Part D Plan which is rated as 5 star by CMS.
Compare 2012 Part D plans early
To be on the safe side you may want to compare plans sooner rather than later. Plan information should be made available earlier this year to accommodate the moved up time frame for the Annual Enrollment Period.
If you are currently enrolled in a Part D Plan you should monitor your mail for any notices concerning your carriers’ plans for 2012.
If you are considering a change to your Part D coverage it would be wise to take a look at several available plans being that there will not be an opportunity to make changes after the Annual Enrollment Period ends. When comparing Part D Plans for 2012 these are the factors you should consider:
- Is the plan affordable?
- Are your medications included in the Part D formulary?
- Are copay amounts competitive?
- Is a deductible required?
- Are your drugs placed in the same tier as other plans?
- Is your pharmacy in network?
- Does the plan have a mail order option that adds value?
It’s up to you to be proactive and enroll in a plan within the allotted time frame. Don’t be one of the people that doesn’t act in time or that doesn’t recognize that the 2012 Medicare Part D enrollment period has changed. Responsibility rests with you.