Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Important Medicare Part D and Part C Updates

The Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP) for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans is set to start on October 15th and end on December 7th. Thus, Medicare beneficiaries have to weigh their options and make a decision by December 7, 2014.

During the ACEP "Open Enrollment," Medicare beneficiaries who do not have a Part D plan can enroll in one. Individuals who currently have Part D coverage will have an opportunity to change plans. Beneficiaries can opt for either a Standard Medicare or a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan (generally run by private companies with similar coverage options).

Individuals already enrolled in Medicare will be automatically re-enrolled.  However, the best plan for one year may not be the best plan for the following year. Part D and MA plans may have made changes to their coverage, provider networks and other plan features. However, all changes and plan information for 2015 will be available on the Medicare Plan Finder at Essentially, the Medicare Plan Finder is an online plan comparison tool, which allows users to enter all their medications and dosages, compare multiple plans at a time, and enroll in a plan online. For individuals who prefer not to use this online medium, similar resources are available by contacting 1-800-Medicare, or their State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP).

It is extremely important to be aware of the relevant dates and deadlines as beneficiaries who miss the ACEP deadline (December 7th, 2014) may have to wait until next year to enroll in Part D. Furthermore, beneficiaries who miss the deadline may potentially face a "lifetime" late enrollment penalty subject to limited exceptions.

Lastly, beneficiaries will again have an opportunity to un-enroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan during a limited period beginning on January 1, 2015 and ending on February 14, 2015. This period is known as the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP). During this period, beneficiaries will be permitted to drop their Medicare Advantage plan, enroll in traditional Medicare, and pick up a Part D plan. However, the MADP does not permit beneficiaries to switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another; beneficiaries who wish to change from one MA plan to another must do so during the aforementioned period between October 15, 2014 and December 7, 2014.

For any additional information about retirement or end-of-life planning, please contact an experienced elder law attorney

.  At Maroney Associates, PLLC, we give families the personalized attention they need to plan for the future. 

Based in Melville and Garden City, New York, the attorneys at the Law Offices of Maroney Associates, PLLC assist clients throughout Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and the cities of Mineola, Hempstead, New Hyde Park, Franklin Square, Williston Park, Queens Village, Melville, Huntington, Farmingdale, Patchogue and Uniondale, NY.

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