There are certain steps you must take to find your best Part D plan. The first step begins with reviewing your Part D Annual Notice of Change (ANOC).
If you’re fairly new to Medicare, you may be asking, What is the Part D Annual Notice of Change?
The ANOC is mailed to you from the sponsor of your current plan and must detail any changes that will occur related to your Part D plan for the following year.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid require that you receive this notice in September.
Since details for all Part D plans will be made available on October 1st each year, reviewing the ANOC gives you a little insight as to what your Part D plan will look like should you decide to keep it.
In addition to possible plan changes (including non-renewal), the Standard Benefit Model for Part D plans has changes every year.
How to deal with plan changes or non-renewal
Finding out that your Part D plan is changing benefits, monthly premium or both shouldn’t be a shock to you.
Part D plans, like Medicare Advantage plans are effective for one calendar year. Plans typically undergo some changes each year.
If your plan is being renewed for the following year, the question is, can you live with the changes?
It’s fairly easy to weigh the consequences of a premium change or a change in co-payment or coinsurance amounts, but changes to the formulary are another matter altogether.
If you receive notice that the formulary is changing, you will need to determine if your current medications will be covered for 2014.
Since all Part D plans will undergo changes, it’s really in your best interest to go through the process of comparing Part D plans all over again.
A plan that you found to be less than suitable last year may have changed to the point that’s it’s a better choice than what your current plan will become.
Part D Standard Benefit Model – what all plans have in common
Part D plan parameters are strictly governed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. There are some features that will be identical between all Medicare drug plans. Identical features between plans will include such things as the deductible, initial coverage limit, when the donut hole is reached and catastrophic coverage.
Here are the limits for 2014 plans:
- The deductible will be reduced from $325 to $310
- Initial coverage limit will be $2850 down from $2970
- The out-of-pocket threshold will be lowered to $4550 down from $4750
- Donut hole begins when you reach the $2850 coverage limit and ends when you have spent $4550
- Cost-sharing in the catastrophic portion will increase to the greater of 5% or $2.55 for generics and the greater of 5% or $6.35 for brand-name drugs
If you reach the donut hole in 2014 you will pay 47% of the cost for brand name drugs and 72% for generic drugs while you are in the donut hole. This is a benefit of the Affordable care Act.
There is really nothing you can do about these changes as all plans will be effected.
Since all plans can undergo changes in benefits and premiums, you really should consider comparing your plan to others available so you can be assured that you have the best Part D plan for your circumstances.