Medicare Part D – It’s that time of year again to review your Prescription Drug Plan
The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. reminds us that it’s that time of year again to make choices and change your current prescription drug plan. Plans change every year; premiums and deductibles may change; drug coverage may change; and plan providers may leave your service area. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that beneficiaries and/or their helpers and caregivers compare different plans BEFORE the Part D Annual Election Period that starts November 15th and ends December 31st.
If you or a loved one is currently enrolled in a Private Fee for Service (PFFS) plan, it is especially important to get started reviewing options because changes from the 2008 Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) go into effect in 2011, and some PFFS plans have decided to leave the marketplace rather than meet the additional requirements enacted by MIPPA.
Another change to Medicare in 2011, a result of the new health care reform law, will help close the coverage gap known as the “Donut Hole.” Eligible plan members who purchase formulary drugs after reaching the Donut Hole will get a 50% discount on brand name drugs and a 7% discount on generic drugs.
Don’t be intimidated. This year, plan sponsors were required to consolidate plan offerings, so there are fewer plans and the differences between plans are more meaningful and easier to compare, and beginning October 15th, plan premiums, deductibles, co-pay amounts, formularies and formulary drug restrictions can be viewed and compared online at www.medicare.gov
If you’d like additional assistance, North Carolina offers a Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). To find your local SHIIP office, call 1-800-443-9354, or check out their website: www.ncshiip.com.