| Wed, Nov 30, 2011 @ 09:00 AM

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is Open through December 7. Learn about adding or switching Medicare Advantage or Part D plans.

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

The Annual Enrollment Period is happening now through December 7. Don’t miss your opportunity to add, switch or drop a plan for the 2012 plan year.The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) has been open since Oct.15, but it’s closing Dec. 7. Are you interested in adding or switching Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Part D* (prescription drug coverage) for the 2012 plan year? AEP is a time when you can join, switch or drop these plans for an effective date of January 1.

How can I get a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan during AEP?

There are a variety Medicare Advantage plan types. All Medicare Advantage plans offer medical and hospital coverage. Some offer additional benefits, like eye, hearing, or prescription drug coverage. Once you’ve researched plans available in your area (Medicare.gov’s plan finder tool is a good place to start), you just need to contact the private insurer who provides the plan you want for details on how to enroll.

How can I add drug coverage during AEP?

You can add a Medicare Part D plan to certain types of  Medicare Advantage plans that don’t already include it. You may switch from your existing plan to a Medicare Advantage plan that has prescription drug coverage built into the benefits. Or, if you are using Original Medicare (Parts A and B), you may join a Medicare Part D plan for prescription drug coverage. See “It’s time to act” below to learn how.

Switching or Dropping Plans

If you’re an Original Medicare beneficiary joining a Medicare Advantage plan:

Medicare Advantage plan members remain enrolled in Original Medicare (and continue to pay their Part B premium), so there is no need to drop Original Medicare when you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.

If you have a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan, you should drop your Medicare Supplement Insurance plan once enrolled in Medicare Advantage by contacting your plan’s provider.

If you’re switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan – or from one Part D plan to another Part D plan:

You need to enroll in the new plan you’ve selected by contacting the private insurance company that administers that plan. You can often enroll online, by phone or by filling out forms and sending them in. You do not need to drop your existing Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. The plan you were previously enrolled in will end automatically when your new plan begins.

If you’re dropping an existing Medicare Advantage and/or Part D plan to return to Original Medicare

To return to Original Medicare, contact your current Medicare Advantage and/or Part D plan administrator to drop it, or call 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Because Medicare Advantage and Part D members remain enrolled in Original Medicare, you don’t need to “re-enroll” in Parts A and B.

You will also need to decide if you want a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan to pay some of the costs Original Medicare does not pay. If you had prescription drug coverage through your previous Medicare Advantage plan, you will need to decide whether or not you want to enroll in a Part D plan.

It’s Time to Act

If you’re looking for a Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plan, the time to act is now. Go to the Medicare.gov plan finder and research your plans. After answering some simple location and health questions, you’ll get a list of plans to compare and contact for more information.

*In some cases, there is a penalty for enrolling in Medicare Part D after your Initial Enrollment Period has passed. Learn more.

For more information contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048. You can also contact UnitedHealthcare® Medicare Made Clear to learn more at 1-877-619-5582, TTY 711, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. local time, seven days a week.

Resources:

Understanding Medicare Enrollment Periods – Medicare.gov

CMS’ Medicare & You 2011 – Medicare.gov

Your Guide to Prescription Drug Coverage

Y0066_110921_160857 File & Use 10012011