Medicare: Fall Open Enrollment is Here!

During Fall Open Enrollment (October 15-December 7), you may make changes to your health and drug coverage. If you need help deciding your Medicare coverage for 2014, call the Medicare Rights Center’s free, national consumer helpline at 800-333-4114.

During Fall Open Enrollment, people who have Medicare can make changes to their Medicare coverage. For example, people with Medicare can switch their Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D plan) to a different Part D plan during Fall Open Enrollment. Keep in mind that the last change that people make during Fall Open Enrollment will take effect January 1 of the next year.

No matter what, you should always review your Medicare coverage to see if there will be any changes made to your Medicare benefits and costs in 2014. If you have a Medicare Part D plan, your plan should send you an Annual Notice of Change and/or Evidence of Coverage by September 30, 2013. These notices should list whether there are any changes in your Part D plan’s costs, benefits and rules in 2014. If you have not received these notices, contact your plan and ask that these notices be sent to you. You should also contact your plan directly and ask that a complete plan formulary (list of covered drugs) be sent to you.

Even if you are satisfied with your current Part D plan, take a look at other Medicare options in your area and compare them with your current Part D coverage to see which plan will best suit your needs in the upcoming year. Current research shows that people with Part D could lower their costs by changing their Part D plans each year during Fall Open Enrollment. For example, there may be a Part D plan in your area that offers better coverage for the drugs you take at a lower price.

When looking at different Part D plans, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does the Part D plan cover all the medications I’m taking?
  • Does the Part D plan require me to follow certain rules, before I can get my drugs?
  • Does the Part D plan work with the pharmacy I go to or have a mail-order option? (You pay the least if you get your drugs from a preferred, in-network pharmacy. You may also pay less for drugs if you use mail-order options.)
  • How much is the Part D plan’s monthly premium and annual deductible?
  • How much will I pay for each drug that I need?
  • What is this Part D plan’s star rating?

To find and learn about different Part D plans in your area, call 800-MEDICARE or go online and visit www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan. Keep in mind that it’s best to call 800-MEDICARE when making changes to your Medicare coverage, as this may help you avoid enrollment errors. Click here for a helpful Medicare Interactive web page that talks about things to consider when switching Part D plans. Click here for a Medicare Interactive web page that talks about the different changes you can make during Fall Open Enrollment.