AARP Medicare Complete Choice Essential is one of the plan offerings available through the partnership of AARP and United Healthcare. The comparative plan offering that AARP and United Healthcare has is AARP Medicare Complete Choice Plan 2. There is one major glaring difference between the two.
AARP Medicare Complete Choice Essential = No Part D Drug Coverage
That’s right. This plan offers no Medicare Part D drug coverage. You may think that this is crazy to have a Medicare Advantage plan with no drug coverage, but it is more common than you may think. Companies offer Medicare Advantage plans with no drug coverage for people that already have CREDITABLE drug coverage, but need the medical coverage. The main target market for this coverage is Veterans. BE AWARE!! While this plan offers almost identical coverage as the comparable Medicare Complete Choice Plan 2, it will leave you facing a penalty once you are locked in to the plan. Every month that you don’t carry Medicare Part D drug coverage, you will be penalized 1%. In other words, if you accidentally end up enrolled on this plan, and are locked in to it for an entire year, you will be facing a 12% penalty the next year when you are allowed to switch plans.
How To Avoid the Part D Penalty
My first suggestion is simply to use an agent when signing up for your Medicare coverage. This avoids the mistakes that can be made when signing up through the mail or online or even over the phone. Also, double check y0ur enrollment material when it comes in. Make sure that there is a section in your Summary of Benefits that includes drug coverage. Finally, call the plan and Medicare to verify that the plan you are enrolled in does in fact include Part D drug coverage.