Everything You Need to Know about 2019 Medicare Open Enrollment
right around the corner. This year, it will run from October 15th– December 7th. This is the only time of year that you can make changes to various aspects of your Medicare insurance coverage.
During Open Enrollment (AEP), you can:
- Switch from Original Medicare (+ Medicare Supplement Plan) to a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare (+ Medicare Supplement Plan).
- Enroll in a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, if you did not sign up when you were first eligible, (although some late penalty fees may be incurred).
If you are happy with your coverage, and your plan is still available in 2019, you can ignore AEP, and you will be auto-renewed. However, there may be subtle changes to your plan, including costs and fees, as well as coverage of certain drugs on Part D plans. Additionally, if your plan is no longer available in 2019, you will receive a non-renewal letter from your carrier.
Some exciting things are changing for the 2019 year as it relates to Medicare.
There is a period of time every year following Open Enrollment, in which you can switch out of a Medicare Advantage Plan and into Original Medicare. Every year this occurs from January 1st– March 31st. This is called the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period. Starting in 2019, you will now also have the option to switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan during this time period. This came about from the 21st Century Cures Act (Section 17005), in an attempt to allow consumers to be comfortable with their best coverage.
The Donut Hole is being eliminated in 2019 for brand-name drugs, one year ahead of schedule. The Donut Hole is best explained as the gap in prescription drug coverage when someone reaches the initial coverage limit ($3,820 in 2019), and ends when they have spent $5,100 (these thresholds are each slightly higher than they were in 2018). The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 will close the donut hole one year early for brand name drugs. This cost of closing the gap early, will be passed onto the drug manufacturers, saving you, the consumer, money.
And, there is a new premium bracket for highest-income enrollees in Part B and Part D plans. Under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, individuals with annual incomes of $500,000 or more ($750,000 combined for married couples). If you fall into one of these brackets, please discuss with your agent so you are aware of all costs.
Working with a licensed agent is the best way to ensure you are receiving the best possible coverage every single year. He will keep you abreast to increasing co-pays, changes to drug formularies or changes to treatment coverage. Call the experts at Plan Medicare to discuss your individual needs today- 516-900-7877.