Medicare Part D covers prescription drugs. Since your last enrollment period, your medical circumstances and prescription drug needs may have changed, and your current Medicare Part D plan may not meet your new prescription drug needs. During the next Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), you may decide to switch your Medicare Part D Plan. Before you change plans, here are 5 things to know when switching Part D plans during AEP:
- Know when the Annual Enrollment Period begins and ends
If your prescription drug needs have changed, you have the option to change plans during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). AEP opens October 15 and closes December 7 each year. Coverage for plans chosen during this time will begin on January 1.
2. Recognize you cannot switch prescription drug plans outside of AEP
AEP is the only time in which you can make changes to your prescription drug plan unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. This is why it is important to review your drug plan annually to ensure it still provides the coverage you need. If you miss your opportunity to switch plans during AEP, you will have to wait a full year before making changes to your drug plan.
3. Do not cancel your previous plan before choosing a new Part D Plan
Keep your current Part D Plan until you have chosen and enrolled in a new plan. Once you have settled on and enrolled in another plan, you won’t need to tell your old Medicare drug plan you are leaving or send them anything. You will be disenrolled automatically from your old plan when coverage in your new drug plan begins. However, if you cancel your previous Part D Plan before selecting a new plan and the AEP expires, then you may be charged a late enrollment penalty.
4. Investigate and compare Medicare D plans
Before you switch Part D plans, you should shop and compare plans to ensure you receive the right coverage for your new circumstances. Here are some questions to consider before enrolling in another Part D plan:[Text Wrapping Break]
Are my current prescriptions on the plan’s formulary (drug list)?
Can I fill my prescriptions at my regular pharmacy?
Will there be copayment or coinsurance with this plan? If so, how much will it be?
How much will I pay for monthly premiums and the annual deductible?
How much will I pay during the coverage gap or “donut hole” phase?
Can I receive prescriptions by mail?
For a more in-depth look at how to choose a Medicare Part D plan visit, “How to Find the Best Medicare Part D Plan”
5. Know how to enroll in a new plan
After you have decided which plan is the best fit for your circumstances, you can begin the enrollment process. There are several ways to enroll in a Part D plan:
Contact the plan directly
Online at medicare.gov
Contact a licensed Independent Insurance Agent
Independent insurance agents are a tremendous resource to use when comparing, shopping, and enrolling in prescription drug coverage. An independent agent can help you examine multiple plan options to determine which coverage is right for you. This is a great choice for someone who is confused about the enrollment process or overwhelmed with plan options. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a qualified Medicare Advisor today.