August 13, 2013 11:45 pm
The annual enrollment period for Medicare D and Medicare Advantage is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 in 2013. It is time to start the pre-enrollment process.
Oct. 1 is the first day that the Medicare D and Medicare Advantage plans can begin to advertise the new plans for 2014.
Beginning in October, the plan you are enrolled in will send out information regarding the plan’s benefit for 2014. If you are happy with your plan, you follow the instruction in the packet to keep the plan — you generally don’t have to do anything to remain in your current plan. But remember to check your plan carefully each year.
Contact your local SHIP counselor for assistance in reevaluating your plan and the other plans offered in 2014.
In Yellowstone County you can reach a SHIP counselor at 259-5212. For other counties, you can reach your local SHIP counselor at 1-800-551-3191. It is important to contact your SHIP counselor in August and September to do the pre-enrollment work. Depending on the pre-enrollment process results an appointment can be made during the annual
enrollment period if you want help to make a change.
Q. Why do I have to keep checking my Medicare D and Medicare Advantage plan every year?
A. Each year plans are able to restructure the benefits in their Medicare D and/or Medicare Advantage plans. They are allowed to change their premium cost, their deductible amount, what drugs they will cover and what the initial copay for each drug will be for the year.
Even if you are happy with the plan you had in 2013, you should check to be sure your drugs continue to be covered by your plan and their co-pay costs haven’t changed significantly.
From Oct. 15 until Dec. 7 you will be able to enroll in a different plan if you want for 2014.
Send questions about Medicare or Medicaid to SHIP Program c/o Adult Resource Alliance of Yellowstone County, PO Box 20895, Billings, MT 59104 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions are answered by the local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) an objective, not-for-profit counseling, assistance and advocacy service sponsored by DPHHS of Montana and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.