Medicare beneficiaries who want to make changes to their prescription drug plans or Medicare Advantage coverage may do so starting October 15th. That is when Medicare’s annual open enrollment period begins. This year, there will be somewhat fewer plans to pick from, but in general people may still expect plenty of options.
Although premiums are not expected to rise markedly overall in 2015 and in some cases could actually decline, some individual plans have signaled significantly higher rates. Instead of relying on a sticker price of a plan alone, it is vital that beneficiaries compare options in their area to make sure they are in the plan, which covers doctors and drugs they need at the best prices.
The annual open enrollment period is a once-a-year opportunity to switch from a traditional Medicare or a private Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa. Open enrollment will end December 7th.
Although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released some specifics regrading 2015 plans and premiums, many details about provider networks, drug formularies and the like will not be made available until later this falls. This is what is known so far:
The number of Part D standalone prescription drug plans will drop 14%, to 1001 plans. This is the smallest number of offerings since the Medicare Part program began in 2006. However; seniors across the country will still have a choice of at least two dozen plans in their area.
The drug plans consolidations, which drive the reductions in choices will likely shift many beneficiaries into lower cost plans, which result in an average premium decline of 2%, to $38.95
But the overall average premium obscures significant price hikes by some of the biggest plans. The average premium for the WellCare Classic plan, for example, wull increase 53% in 2015, to $31.45 while the Humana Walmart RxPlan premium will rise $24%, to $15.67.
Underscoring the importance of evaluating plan options, 70% of standalone drug plan members will likely see premiums increase if they stick with the same plans in 2015.
If you are eligible for Medicare this is what you need to do. Switch plans if need, and carefully examine what options are available for the upcoming open-enrollment period.
The majority of people enrolled in Medicare each year during open enrollment will not take the time to carefully examine his or her options and they do not switch to a better plan.
Enrollment in the health insurance system, which is administered by the federal government continues to increase , 54 million people in 2013, the options, which they are presented with tend to remain complicated. The options will include Medigap insurance plans, Part D prescription drug benefit plans, original, individual Medicare Advantage, or Medicare plans.
However, confusion is widespread and frustration keeps several people from changing their plans, each year, despite the fact that key aspect of his or her plans could change.
During this years open-enrollment period, which begins October 15th and ends December 7th most people who are 65 and older is predicted to stay with their current plans, just as they have done in previous years.
Medicare experts agree, that seniors who do not switch their plan are left on the hook for otherwise avoidable health expenses when he or she learn that their preferred prescription drugs, healthcare providers, and hospitals are not covered under their current Medicare plans.
Spokespeople for Medicare say the ask seniors how they change and select their health insurance polices, and have found that selecting a plans is overwhelming and confusing process. Most people tend to stay with their current plans and do not like to revisit their current plans and will not go through the overwhelming process again. Research has revealed that only 12% of Medicare enrollees switched their Part D insurance plans between 2006 and 2010.
Studies reveal that if people would switch their plans, they would save money, but many do not switch plans even when the advantages of their plans change and even of a different plan meets their needs better. Medicare advocates believe enrollees should revisit their current plan choices and looks around to see if other options would fit their needs.
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