A notice was sent out in mid-November by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to all Medicare beneficiaries whose plan was not renewing in their area. This notice is extremely important because failure to act will cause you to have NO Medicare Part D coverage, but you will still have original Medicare coverage. This is not a good place to be!
Determine If You Are Affected by The Change in Medicare Plans
If you received the letter from CMS than you are definitely affected. You can also call you current plan and ask if the plan you are on is still available for 2012. In many cases, the company is still offering plans in your area, but they may have discontinued the plan you are currently enrolled in. If you have received the letter, or determine that you are losing coverage than you will want to act as quickly as possible in order to avoid any break in coverage.
Deadline For Making a Change in Your Medicare Coverage
You will want to make a change in your Medicare coverage by December 31, 2011 in order for you to be covered by January 1st, 2012. You are allowed to wait until February 29th, 2012 to make your change in coverage. If you wait until after January 1st your coverage will not be effective until the 1st of the next month. For example, if you change on January 5th, you’re new coverage will not start until February 1st. If you change any time in the month of February you’re coverage will start on March 1st. It is best to make your change before January 1st!
Compare Your Choices For a New Medicare Plan
During this time you are allowed to join any type of Medicare plan you would like. You are allowed to go back to original Medicare with a Part D drug plan. You are also allowed to sign up for a Medicare supplement or Medigap policy. In addition, you can simply join a new Medicare Advantage plan as well.
NOTE: The Letter states that you can call Medicare or go online to www.medicare.gov in order to select and compare plans. This is a good idea, but I always recommend finding a good independent agent to assist you with the enrollment. Also, you can find a copy of the notice sent out by CMS here by clicking on the link: Medicare Plans Non-Renewing CMS Notice