For Medicare recipients, the period from October 15 through December 7 is a designated time to evaluate coverage and make certain changes if better options are available. Among the changes permitted during this time are:
- Change of carriers for a Part D prescription drug plan or PDP. (Note that Part D plans are administered by private insurance companies under the supervision of Medicare.)
- Enroll in or completely drop Part D coverage.
- Change from traditional Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
- Change from a Medicare Advantage plan to traditional Medicare.
Changes made during open enrollment will take effect on January 1.
There have not been any dramatic changes to the open enrollment process this year, although the Medicare website has been updated for greater clarity and ease of use. But because your list of prescription medicines might have changed and because prescription drug plan providers frequently make changes to their formularies, pricing and preferred pharmacies, it is important for all participants with Part D prescription drug plans to review their options every year. Fortunately, the federal government provides an online tool to help participants decide which plan is best for them.
The tool is available through the Medicare.gov website, where you can get basic information about Medicare and search for specific information about plans in your area.