Sep 082012

The Beginning of October means it is “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC) time once again. For anyone with a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D for prescription drug coverage it is important keep a look out for any changes to your plan.  For those on Medicare Supplemental insurance (also known as Medigap) there is no annual notice of change as Medicare Supplements automatically adjust to any changes in Medicare.

Your ANOC will detail all the plan changes that will take effect on Jan. 1st.  Getting your ANOC is not always a bad thing.  As insurance companies become more competitive sometimes they offer more benefits.  Unfortunately though, as Medicare becomes financially stressed it can cause insurance companies offer less benefits as well.  So you definitely want to keep an eye out for bad changes.  It is possible for Medicare Advantage plan changes like a discontinuance of Part B premium reduction programs, raises or modifications to hospital co-payments, and or changes to maximum out of pockets.

For those on Medicare Part D prescription coverage, often purchased by those who have Medicare Supplemental insurance, your plans can change as well.  For Medicare Part D you will want to keep an eye out for higher co-pays or if any of your drugs have been dropped from the plan's formulary. If changes are too drastic then the upcoming annual election period is the time to look for a new plan.

The ANOC is only once a year and is the only time Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D can change.  ANOC does not affect Medicare Supplemental insurance, but many people who buy Medigap plans are affected if they also have a Medicare Part D plan. Any changes published in the ANOC will take effect on January 1st.  If it becomes clear that it is time to change plans then you may do so during annual election period which typically takes place from October 15th through December 7th.

For those who have Medicare Supplemental insurance you can change your plan any time you would like as long as you have open enrollment, guaranteed issue, or can pass underwriting.  Medicare supplement plans do not have to participate in the annual election period.  For more information please see the Choosing a Medigap Policy guide published by the government.  If you would like to see if there are lower priced Medicare supplement plans available in your area request quotes today.

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