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Q1Medicare Reminder: The 2017 Medicare Part D annual Open Enrollment Period Begins Today, October 15th

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Q1Medicare Reminder: The 2017 Medicare Part D annual Open Enrollment Period Begins Today, October 15th
Published on 2016-10-15 12:47:19Category: Enrollment Topics

The 2017 Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plan annual Open Enrollment Period (or Annual Coordinated Election Period - AEP) begins today, October 15th and continues through December 7th.  During the next seven weeks, you will have the opportunity to add, change, or cancel your Medicare Advantage plan (MA or MAPD) or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP).

If you are satisfied with your current 2016 Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan coverage – and you understand how your Medicare plan is changing in 2017 - you do not need to do anything and you will be automatically re-enrolled into your Medicare plan along with any changes your plan may have made for 2017.

However, as a note of caution … if your current 2016 Medicare plan is being discontinued or not offered in 2017, you may not have 2017 Medicare plan coverage – unless you enroll in a new plan. On the other hand, some 2016 Medicare plans will be consolidated and 2016 plan members are being automatically “crosswalked” or merged into a different 2017 Medicare plan – with potentially different plan coverage. Be sure to review your plan’s Annual Notice of Change letter to learn more about your 2017 Medicare plan coverage. You can click here to see our article for examples of 2017 Medicare plan reassignments and mergers.

Compare 2017 Medicare plans by drug coverage and costs.
We have three different tools available to check coverage of your prescription drugs:
  • We offer our 2017 Formulary Browser that allows you to browse through all 2017 Medicare prescription drug plan formularies or drug lists. You can click on the cost-sharing values of any medication to see the costs difference between using a preferred network pharmacy or a standard (non-preferred) network pharmacy. (Please note, as in the past, we currently are not showing any 2017 formulary information for sanctioned Medicare Part D plans. We will update our Formulary Browser when CMS releases this formulary information.)

  • We also have our 2017 Drug Finder online (Q1Rx.com) allowing you to quickly see how all Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your area are covering a particular prescription drug. Our Drug Finder details include average negotiated retail drug prices and usage management restrictions (such as Quantity Limits or Prior Authorization requirements).

  • Our 2017 Long-Term Care (LTC) Drug Finder (Q1Rx.com/LTC is also online and provides a simple way to compare drug usage management restrictions for the top LTC medications found on Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) $0 premium Medicare Part D plans along with Institutional Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs). You can click here to see an example for Pennsylvania.
Review all 2017 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans in your area.
If you wish to see an overview of all stand-alone 2017 Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) offered in your state, then you can use our PDP-Finder. We provide a unique collection of prescription drug plan details including information on: drug tier co-payments, initial deductibles, monthly premiums, Part D plan IDs, Donut Hole or Gap coverage, formulary size, and Medicare plan quality star ratings. Click on the plan name or “Benefits & Contact Info” for more information about the specific Medicare PDP.

To start, you can click here for an example of our PDP-Finder showing all 2017 Florida Medicare Part D plans with a $0 initial deductible.

Review all 2017 Medicare Advantage plans in your area.
Medicare Advantage plans combine your Medicare hospitalization coverage (Medicare Part A), out-patient coverage (Medicare Part B) - and may provide your Medicare prescription drug coverage (Medicare Part D), dental, vision, and fitness center coverage. In some areas, Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage are offered with a $0 monthly premium and a $0 initial deductible.

You can use our 2017 MA-Finder for searching and comparing all Medicare Advantage plans across the country by plan features.  Since Medicare Advantage plans are offered on a county-by-county basis, begin by entering your ZIP code.  Click on the “Benefits & Contact Info” button for more information about a specific Medicare Advantage plan.

You can click here for an example of $0 premium Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) in New York, NY – just change the ZIP code to see the plans in your area. (Please note, CMS did not release the 2017 Medicare Advantage plan health benefit details this year and we are working to find an alternative source to bring you this information.)

See how your 2016 Medicare Part D plan or Medicare Advantage plan is changing in 2017.
Changes to your existing 2016 Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan coverage were explained in your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letter that you should have received from your current Medicare plan. However, if you would like a quick overview of how any current Medicare plan is changing in 2017, please use our 2016/2017 Medicare Part D plan comparison tool, PDP-Compare or use our 2016/2017 Medicare Advantage plan comparison tool, MA-Compare. You will also see the Medicare Part D plans or Medicare Advantage plans merged, discontinued, or introduced in 2017.

If you are unsure where to begin, you can click here for an example of a 2016/2017 Texas Medicare Part D plan comparison.

Review Medicare Part D plans qualifying for the Low-Income Subsidy $0 Premium.
Our PDP-Finder also offers information for Medicare beneficiaries qualifying for financial Extra-Help and may be particularly helpful to advocates and nursing homes. If you are just seeking Medicare Part D plans that have monthly premiums completely covered by your state’s Low-Income Subsidy, you can narrow your plan search by choosing “Yes, show only plans that qualify for the $0 Premium” option. Click the link for an example of all 2017 Part D plans in California qualifying for the LIS $0 premium. In both our Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Plan Finders, you can also choose the “LIS Subsidy Amount” and the monthly Medicare plan premiums will be adjusted based on your selected level of Extra Help.

If you are ready to enroll in a new 2017 Medicare plan . . .
If you have already reviewed your 2017 Medicare plan options and are ready to enroll in a new Medicare plan, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) (TTY 1-877-486-2048) and enroll directly through a Medicare representative. The Medicare representative can process your enrollment into any Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan directly over the telephone and the process only takes a few minutes. Be sure to record and keep your enrollment confirmation code in a safe place.

If you decide to change Medicare plans, you do not need to disenroll from your existing 2016 plan when joining your new 2017 Medicare plan -- your newly chosen 2017 plan will automatically contact your 2016 plan and handle the enrollment change.

Finally, remember there is no need to rush into a decision.
You have plenty of time to choose a 2017 Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan. Again, if you need assistance, please contact a local advocate or call a Medicare representative at 1-800-Medicare (1-800-633-4227) (TTY 1-877-486-2048) for assistance.

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Tips & Disclaimers
  • The Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plan data on our site comes directly from Medicare and is subject to change.
  • Medicare has neither reviewed nor endorsed the information on our site.
  • We provide our Q1Medicare.com site for educational purposes and strive to present unbiased and accurate information. However, Q1Medicare is not intended as a substitute for your lawyer, doctor, healthcare provider, financial advisor, or pharmacist. For more information on your Medicare coverage, please be sure to seek legal, medical, pharmaceutical, or financial advice from a licensed professional or telephone Medicare at 1-800-633-4227.
  • We are an independent education, research, and technology company. We are not affiliated with any Medicare plan, plan carrier, healthcare provider, or insurance company. We are not compensated for Medicare plan enrollments. We do not sell leads or share your personal information.
  • Benefits, formulary, pharmacy network, provider network, premium and/or co-payments/co-insurance may change on January 1 of each year. Our PDP-Compare.com and MA-Compare.com provide highlights of annual plan benefit changes.
  • The benefit information provided is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan.
  • Limitations, copayments, and restrictions may apply.
  • We make every effort to show all available Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plans in your service area. However, since our data is provided by Medicare, it is possible that this may not be a complete listing of plans available in your service area. For a complete listing please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
  • When enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium.
  • Medicare beneficiaries with higher incomes may be required to pay both a Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA). Read more on IRMAA.
  • Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage (MAPDs) are considered Medicare Part D plans and members with higher incomes may be subject to the Medicare Part D Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA), just as members in stand-alone Part D plans. In certain situations, you can appeal IRMAA.
  • You must be enrolled in both Medicare Part A and Part B to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Members may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during specific times of the year. Contact the Medicare plan for more information.
  • If you are enrolled in a Medicare plan with Part D prescription drug coverage, you may be eligible for financial Extra Help to assist with the payment of your prescription drug premiums and drug purchases. To see if you qualify for Extra Help, call: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov; the Social Security Office at 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. TTY users should call, 1-800-325-0778; or your state Medicaid Office.
  • Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-Star rating system. Star Ratings are calculated each year and may change from one year to the next.
  • A Medicare Advantage Private Fee-for-Service plan (PFFS) is not a Medicare supplement plan. Providers who do not contract with the plan are not required to see you except in an emergency.
  • Disclaimer for Institutional Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who meets the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) level of care and resides in a nursing home.
  • Disclaimer for Dual Eligible (Medicare/Medicaid) Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone who has both Medical Assistance from the State and Medicare. Premiums, co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles may vary based on the level of Extra Help you receive. Please contact the plan for further details.
  • Disclaimer for Chronic Condition Special Needs Plan (SNP): This plan is available to anyone with Medicare who has been diagnosed with the plan specific Chronic Condition.
  • Medicare MSA Plans combine a high deductible Medicare Advantage Plan and a trust or custodial savings account (as defined and/or approved by the IRS). The plan deposits money from Medicare into the account. You can use this money to pay for your health care costs, but only Medicare-covered expenses count toward your deductible. The amount deposited is usually less than your deductible amount, so you generally have to pay out-of-pocket before your coverage begins.
  • Medicare MSA Plans do not cover prescription drugs. If you join a Medicare MSA Plan, you can also join any separate (stand-alone) Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
  • There are additional restrictions to join an MSA plan, and enrollment is generally for a full calendar year unless you meet certain exceptions. Those who disenroll during the calendar year will owe a portion of the account deposit back to the plan. Contact the plan provider for additional information.
  • Medicare beneficiaries may enroll through the CMS Medicare Online Enrollment Center located at www.medicare.gov.
  • Medicare beneficiaries can file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-MEDICARE 24 hours a day/7 days or using the medicare.gov site. Beneficiaries can appoint a representative by submitting CMS Form-1696.