Health care reform has meant some significant changes to enrollment periods for Medicare Part D insurance. The key to enrolling in the best Part D plan for 2012 is knowing when you can and cannot enroll or make changes to your Part D insurance coverage.
Special Election Periods (SEP) aside, there have traditionally been two main enrollment periods for Part D. The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) and the Open Enrollment period (OEP). The AEP will continue to be the time for Medicare beneficiaries to enroll in, or make changes to their Part D Medicare plan. The OEP is no longer be available. This was the enrollment period that began on January 1 and ended March 31. During this period when you were able to make like-to-like plan switches.
Compare Medicare Plans Without Submitting Your Info Online – Call (888) 310-0376
Make your 2012 Medicare Part D enrollment count
There is a new Annual Enrollment Period time frame for plans with a 2012 effective date. You may submit an application beginning October 15, 2011 through December 7, 2011. After this period there will be a dis-enrollment period for Medicare Advantage plan members. Advantage plan members who would like to dis-enroll from their plan can do so beginning January 1 through February 14. If they choose to dis-enroll they will have an opportunity to return to original Medicare and purchase a stand-alone Part D insurance plan. After that period members will be locked into their choice until December 31.
You will need to make your choice count since your freedom to make plan changes has be lessened. Shop online to compare Medicare Part D insurance plans for 2012 to save time. Plan aspects that you should consider include:
- The plan’s formulary. Make sure your prescription drugs are included.
- Compare co-pays from one plan to the next.
- Compare individual drugs to determine if one plan includes them in a lower or higher tier than another plan.
- Make sure your pharmacy will accept the plan and also compare mail order benefits.
- Check to see if a plan will give you some coverage in the Donut Hole if there is a chance you may reach it.
- Compare Part D insurance plans to determine if an annual deductible is required.
- Consider the plan’s premium in relation to all other concerns.
All of these factors will take on a little more importance for 2012 due to the Medicare Part D insurance enrollment changes. Do your homework and make your choice based on sound analysis.