To all you Medicare participants out there, we have some news for you! The dates to choose your Part D prescription drug coverage plan have changed. New for 2012, the time to choose your Part D plan begins October 15, 2011 and ends on December 7, 2011. This is a change from prior years, when the enrollment period was November 15 through December 31.
Anyone who has Medicare hospital insurance (Part A), medical insurance (Part B), or a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) is eligible for prescription drug coverage (Part D). Between October 15 and December 7 you can join, switch or drop a Medicare drug plan, and the change will take effect on January 1, 2012.
Updated plan information will be available October 1 on Medicare’s website. While it may seem like a daunting task to review and evaluate all the available options and costs, this website has a cost-comparison calculator that makes it a snap. With this tool, you can easily compare total costs (monthly premiums, deductibles, co-pays and drug charges) among plans.
From the homepage, first click on Compare Drug and Health Plans. Then, enter your current medications and dosages. Don’t skip this step! Costs vary depending on each plan’s formulary or approved list of drugs, and you’ll want to make sure the medications you take are on the list. Make this part easy by having your prescription bottles in front of you while you’re at the computer, so you won’t skip an x, y or z in those complicated drug names. Press Continue to Plan Results and voila, a concise rundown of total costs among plans.
For a more thorough review of plan formularies, visit the website of each plan, where you’ll also find any requirements about using certain pharmacies and special features like a mail order option.
Once you’ve enrolled in a new plan, you don’t need to cancel your old plan or send them anything – the old plan coverage will end when your new plan begins. Why not enroll before the year-end rush? You’ll meet the new deadline and you’ll have your new insurance card before the New Year!