You will receive mailings about your current plan
You will receive, or have already received, a notice called an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) from your Medicare Advantage Plan or your Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. This notice is intended to make you aware of any changes for your plan starting January 1, 2023. These changes can include increases or decreases in monthly premium and co-pay costs, formulary changes in drugs covered, tier levels and pharmacy network. If you have not received this ANOC by September 30, call your plan and request it. Do not assume that what you selected for 2022 will remain the same and do not assume that it will be the best option for you in 2023.
You may switch your Medicare plans during the AOEP
You have received your ANOC, with plan information, because Medicare gives beneficiaries a chance to review and change Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D Prescription Drug Plans during the Annual Open Enrollment Period (AOEP). The AOEP is from October 15th - December 7th. Comparison can be done using the Medicare website, www.medicare.gov, under the option “Find Health and Drug Plans.” This site has information on all available plans. If, after your review, you find a plan with a better fit for your needs, you can change plans and enroll online. Your new plan would be effective January 1, 2023.
Medicare beneficiaries who have access to a computer would benefit from setting up a Medicare account on the Medicare.gov website. This account with a username, password and security question will allow you to add your drugs once and then add new drugs, change doses or remove drugs no longer needed. The comparison of plans becomes quicker and easier.
The Medicare account can also give you information about processed claims from your providers should you have any concerns.
Retiree coverage from a former employer may have different dates and different instructions for making changes
If you have retiree coverage from a former employer, you will also be provided with benefit and cost information for the next year, including instructions for making changes to your coverage. Retiree Option Selection Period and Federal Open Season are terms meaning the same as Annual Open Enrollment Period, but may have different rules and dates for making changes. Even with a retiree plan, you will receive an ANOC by September 30. The ANOC must state that your retiree prescription coverage is "creditable", meaning that it is as good as, or better than, the Medicare Part D Plans. This is an important letter, so keep it with your plan information.
Other important mailings you may receive during AOEP
Other mailings that you may receive during the AOEP could include information regarding "Extra Help" (Part D assistance for qualifying beneficiaries), Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D "Income-Related Medicare Adjustment Amount" (IRMAA), PACE/PACENET, and a new "Medicare and You" handbook. If you receive forms to be completed that will continue your benefits, complete them promptly and return them so that your help does not end due to failure to respond.
Plans that are NOT affected by the AOEP
Medicare Supplement Plans, also known as Medigap Plans, are not affected by the AOEP. You would probably be subject to medical underwriting for changes to one of these plans if you are not in a "guarantee issue" period. However, beneficiaries with a Medigap Plan may have a Part D Prescription Plan that needs to be reviewed annually during AOEP.
How can you get help navigating these options?
If you are wondering how you can understand your mailings, evaluate your coverage, enroll in new plans or apply for assistance programs, PA MEDI counselors can help with any of those tasks. PA MEDI counseling is free, unbiased, personal, informative and confidential. The counseling sessions are by appointment and most occur at area Senior Centers and libraries. To schedule an appointment at a senior center, call the center directly. To schedule at another location, call 610-344-5234 (after September 15th), and leave a message. A volunteer will pick up the message and return the call within one business day. The volunteer can give you dates and times of available appointments. You can also call and leave a message on our Help Line at 610-344-5004, option 2, requesting information on Open Enrollment Events.
During AOEP counselors are still available to schedule appointments with beneficiaries who are becoming eligible for Medicare. PA MEDI counselors can help you with your Medicare enrollment and give you information on all the options that go with Medicare.