2013 Medicare Part D and Medigap Comparisons Now Available Online

The 2013 Medicare annual enrollment period is almost here. This is a vitally important time for everyone who is eligible for Medicare, as it is the only time that you can change certain types of Medicare plans, including Medicare Advantage (the privatized Medicare plans that approximately 30% of people on Medicare have) and Medicare Part D Rx plans.

Medicare Part D plans run on a calendar-year contract. Each year, Medicare approves the benefits, co-pay structures, premium, deductible, etc. of the plan for the following calendar year. On or around October 1, you will get an annual notice of plan changes from your current plan – this is an important document, as it shows how your plan is changing for next year including any changes to the coverage of your specific medications. Pay close attention to this.

Even if your plan is not changing significantly, which is unlikely given the current climate of health insurance changes, it is a good idea to re-evaluate the Part D plans on an annual basis. Medicare has greatly improved over the last couple of years with relaying this comparative plan information to people on Medicare. If you are computer-savvy, it is very easy to compare the Part D plans on Medicare.gov. This information was released today, October 1, on Medicare’s website. You can enter your medication/dosage information and get a customized comparison which will show you which Medicare Part D plans will give you the lowest overall annual drug costs over the course of 2013. Click here to: run the customized Part D comparison.

You can change Medigap plans (Medicare Supplements) at any time of the year; however, this is also the most advantageous time of year to compare and change (if necessary) your Medigap plan. To do this, the first step is comparing the available Medigap plans. To do this, request a Medigap quote comparison from Medigap-Quote.com. This will show the available Medigap plans for your age and zip code. The information comes to you by email (not all Medigap companies allow their current rates to be published online, so anything viewed online is incomplete). If you prefer to speak with someone by phone, call us at 877.506.3378.

Medigap Questions – When Is the Annual Enrollment Period?

The Annual Enrollment Period, or AEP, is the period near the end of the year during which you can sign up for a certain Medicare plans. This period was formerly held from October 15 through December 31. Currently, the enrollment period runs from October 15 through December 7 of 2012. Many people who have Medicare often ask when this period is. It is important to know for Medicare Part D, the prescription drug part of Medicare. This is the only time of year that you can change your Medicare Part D plan, cancel it or pick up a plan if you don’t have one. So, it is important to be aware of this period, ready for it, and make any desired changes when the period opens up.

However, this period does NOT apply to Medigap plans. Contrary to popular belief, Medigap plans do not have an annual enrollment period. You can enroll in, change, or disenroll from your Medicare Supplement plan at any time. There are no time restrictions on when you can do this. Now, there is an initial enrollment period, which runs for 6 months from the time that you are first eligible for Medicare. During this time period, you can sign up for any plan with no underwriting, health questions or pre-existing condition exclusions. After that period is over, however, you can change Medigap plans at any time but you have to qualify medically to do so.

It is important to understand the various implications around changing Medigap plans. There are a lot of options for Medigap coverage and coverage is completely standardized. That is, coverage is the same with all of the companies. One Plan F is the same as another. Because of that, the rate is the primary thing that you should look at when you are comparing the plans. Rates do change from time to time and can go up a good bit. Whenever your rate changes, that is a good time to re-evaluate and make sure you have the most desirable plan for you. If you are paying $150 for a Plan F, for example, and there is another Plan F for $120, you can easily change and save $360/year for the same coverage.

If you have any questions about how this works or anything else regarding Medicare, please call us at 877.506.3378 or request information at Medigap-Quote.com.




Medicare Enrollment Period – Preparing for the Upcoming Annual Election Period

The Medicare enrollment period, as it is commonly referred to, is the end-of-year period during which you can make changes to your Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan coverage. It is a frequent misconception that this is the only time of year that you can change, cancel or enroll in a Medigap (Medicare Supplement) plan. Actually, you can make changes to this kind of plan at any time of the year. The AEP (Annual Election Period) – which is the correct name for this period – starts on October 15 this year and runs through December 7. So, what are some steps you can take in preparation for that period?

  • First of all, understand what changes can be made during this period. You can change Part D plans, if you currently have one and wish to change it. Or, if you do not have a Part D plan, but are already on Medicare, you can enroll in a plan during the AEP. If you have Medicare Advantage, you can choose a new Medicare Advantage plan during this period or you can disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan, return to regular Medicare and choose a Part D plan and a Medicare Supplement. Note that this period has nothing to do with Medicare Supplements – you can change those plans at any time of the year.
  • The most important changes to be made are really the Part D plans. These plans change each calendar year. If you are on a plan, you’ll receive a notice of plan changes around October 1. Once you receive this, you should look over it to see what the changes are and how they affect you. In many cases, the premium and deductible of a plan will change. Also, the co-pays for specific medications can change, or medications can move to a different tier. It is essential to look at this material when you receive it.
  • Compile a list of your medications with exact names and dosages. This will be needed to do a complete comparison, whether you are doing it yourself or whether you are using a broker to do it for you.
  • Starting around October 1, you can compare the other Part D plans, either through a Medicare brokerage or on Medicare’s website (www.Medicare.gov). Then, starting October 15, you can make any necessary changes to your plan.
  • If you have a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, this is a good time to re-evaluate your plan and make sure you have the best deal for your specific plan. Although you can change plans at any time of the year, this is a good time to also consider your Medigap coverage. Many of companies change rates around this time of year, and it is wise to add this into your consideration of other plan options for Part D. Medigap plans are standardized, so for example, if you have a Plan F and have had it for more than a year or so, it is likely that you would be able to save money on equal Plan F coverage from another company. The easiest and most productive way to do this is to get Medigap quotes online.

If you have any questions about the AEP or the Medicare Enrollment period, feel free to contact Medigap-Quote.com or call us at 877.506.3378.

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