I’ve written many articles about Medicare Advantage and the new changes regarding 2012. I’m writing this article to summarize the important points, and to include 5 tips that you must know before you actually sign on the application!
The 2012 Medicare Advantage Enrollment Period Has Changed
This year the enrollment period has changed for Medicare Advantage plans. The enrollment period was from November 15 to December 31st. The new enrollment period is from October 15th until December 7th. You do not want to wait until December to start researching plans. Start now and learn as much as you can about the best Medicare Advantage plan for you. For more detail on this subject see my post on the new enrollment period for 2012.
Watch Out For No Drug Coverage
Most Medicare Advantage plans have prescription drug coverage built in, but not all of them. Many companies have similar plans that don’t include coverage for drugs. Many people have signed up for a plan thinking they were getting drug coverage and found out too late that they didn’t have it. Don’t let this happen to you.
Watch Out For Tier Changes and Deductibles
Some companies are adding deductibles to their drug plans that weren’t there before. Always check your ANOC (Annual Notice of Change) to make sure your company did not do this. Of course, you need to look for this on any new plans that you may be considering. Also, many companies are making changes to their drug tiers in their formularies. Make it a point to look up your daily maintenance drugs in your existing formulary as well as any new formularies to see if they might be charging you more!
You Will Be In a Network
The majority of Medicare Advantage plans are either an HMO or a PPO. The HMO requires you to use only physicians and facilities in their network. The PPO is a little more forgiving as far as this goes, but be aware that they will say that you can use any doctor or hospital. This is NOT true. There is an out of network function that allows you to use other doctors and hospitals that are not in their preferred network. The problem is that those doctors or facilities have to agree to file the insurance. There are many that will not!
It’s Not Too Late to Change
During the AEP (Annual Enrollment Period) you are allowed to make multiple changes. This means that if you made a mistake by choosing a plan that your doctor does not accept, or maybe your drugs are not covered; you are still allowed to make another change. In fact, you can make unlimited changes up until December 7th! I don’t recommend making multiple changes, but it is an option for you if you need it.