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Get Help Understanding Your Options During Medicare Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment runs annually October 15 through December 7. It’s the one time of year that you can make changes to your plan choices regarding Part D Prescription plans or Medicare Advantage plans. During Open Enrollment you can:

  • Enroll in or switch Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans
  • Change from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan or
    switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to original Medicare
  • Switch Medicare Advantage Plans

Plan choices made during Open Enrollment will take effect January 1, 2018.

Review Your Part D Prescription Plan Yearly
If you have a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, it’s smart to do an annual review of your plan choices during the Open Enrollment window—even if you’ve been happy with your current plan. Premiums, co-pays and deductibles can change from year to year. Even changes to the medications you’re taking can have an impact on overall plan costs. You want to make sure a plan that worked for you this year will continue to work well in 2018

If you are currently enrolled in a Part D Plan, you should have received an Annual Notice of Change from your Medicare plan by September 30, 2017. This document outlines changes in costs and coverage for 2018.

Get Help Sorting Through Your Options
All Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug Plans are sold and managed by private companies. There are dozens of plans to choose from, and they vary in terms of monthly premiums, annual deductibles, the specific drugs covered, and prescription cost to you.

With all these variables, how do you as a consumer figure out your best option?  Luckily, there are resources and tools you can use to help. The Area Agency on Aging 1-B’s Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) offers beneficiaries access to one-on-one counseling from our trained volunteers. Counselors can help you compare plan options and narrow down the plans that will work best for your particular situation. Our MMAP program is an unbiased resource and counseling is free.

Get Help in Person
Beneficiaries can meet with our MMAP counselors in-person at one of the free Assistance Day events scheduled throughout the six-county region of southeast Michigan/metro Detroit that the AAA 1-B serves (Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Washtenaw.) You can see a full list of Assistance Day events to find a location near you. Keep in mind that, while the service is free, an appointment is needed. You can make an appointment by calling 800-803-7174. Availability is limited and appointments are filled on first-come, first-served basis.

Get Help by Phone
MMAP counselors are also available by phone to answer questions and offer guidance. Counselors are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached by calling 800-803-7174.

Use the Tools Available at Medicare.gov
Medicare.gov also offers a free online Medicare Plan Finder Tool. This tool lets you plug in different variables including the medications you take and the pharmacy you use. Plans can be sorted based on factors like premiums, deductibles or quality ratings to help you find a plan that’s right for you.

A quality rating, included in the Plan Finder results for each plan, can also help you make decisions. A star rating of 1 to 5 is used to express how the plan has performed. A rating of 1 star means “poor” quality, 2 stars means “below average” quality, 3 stars means “average” quality, 4 stars means “above average” quality and 5 stars means “excellent” quality.

Remember to Review Your Plan and Get Answers
Medicare options can be confusing, but help is available to make sure you’ll have a plan that’s right for you. Remember that unbiased and free help is available. If you have questions during Open Enrollment, call MMAP at 800-803-7174.

More Resource on the aaa1b website:

Info on the Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program
More on Part D Prescription Plan Choices