The annual enrollment period for Medicare is here. This is your opportunity to review your current plan and reevaluate your Medicare coverage. Any changes you make during open enrollment will go into effect on January 1st. If you are already enrolled and do not want to make any changes to your coverage you do not need to do anything during the open enrollment period.
What Changes Can You Make During Open Enrollment?
- Switch from Original Medicare (Medicare Part A B) to Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), or vice versa.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
- Enroll in a Part D Prescription Drug Plan for the first time or switch from on Part D plan to another.
- Drop your Part D coverage. Note: you won’t be able to re-enroll until the following year’s open enrollment period.
Review Your Medicare Information
Prior to September 30th, you should have received an annual notice of change and evidence of coverage documents from your current plan provider. Make sure to review these documents very carefully as they outline the plan changes made for the 2019 year.
- Look to see if the monthly premium and/or deductible have changed.
- Check your new co-payments for the drugs have been modified.
- Make sure your medications have not been removed from the insurer’s formulary.
- If you have had a change in your health since reviewing last year, make sure that your new medications are covered.
- Confirm that your medications are on the same drug tier for the year ahead. If not, you may have a lower or higher co-payment during the year.
- Make sure your pharmacy still intends to accept your plan.
Online Information Available
One way to check all of these items is to visit the Medicare website and enter your personal information into their secure site and it will give you the best options for your situation. It doesn’t hurt to just run the numbers to see if making a change can save you money in the long run. If you decide not to make any changes, you can just keep your current plan and do nothing.
2019 Medicare Coverage Changes
- Starting in April 2018, Medicare beneficiaries began receiving new Medicare ID cards that do not include Social Security numbers. All beneficiaries will receive their card by April 2019.
- The donut hole (gap in prescription drug coverage) is being eliminated in 2019 for brand-name drugs, one year ahead of schedule. Enrollees will pay 25% of the cost of brand-name drugs and 37% of the cost of generic drugs.
- There is a new premium bracket for the highest-income Part B and Part D enrollees. Enrollees with income of $500,000 or more ($750,000 or more for married couples) will pay a new, higher premium for Part B and Part D coverage in 2019.
- Medicare Part B premiums likely to increase slightly for 2019. The projected estimate is $135.50/month in 2019.
For assistance with finding the right plan in South Dakota, contact SHIINE:
- Eastern SD: 1-605-333-3314 or 1-800-536-8179
- Central SD: 1-605-494-0219 or 1-877-331-4834
- Western SD: 1-605-342-8635 or 1-877-286-9072