The following article was written by guest author Lindsay Engle, editor of Medicare FAQ, and Lindsay is solely responsible for its content. As with all our blog posts, please remember that this website provides general information that isn’t tailored to your particular situation and may not take into account updates, rules and exceptions that affect you.
There are many Medicare beneficiaries who have enrolled into a Medicare Advantage plan and realized in January that their doctor wasn’t in network, or didn’t even realize they had a network they needed to stay in.
1. Return of the Open Enrollment Period
The Medicare Open Enrollment will replace the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) that was from January 1 until February 14 of every year.
This was an opportunity to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare. The option to enroll in another plan wasn’t available during this time.
Now that is about to change. The new Medicare changes of 2019 will make changing from the unsuitable Medicare Advantage plan to a more suitable plan, possible.
Medicare is reinstating the Open Enrollment Period for all beneficiaries in New Jersey. During this time Medicare beneficiaries can disenroll from their Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in a new plan or switch back to Original Medicare.
If you are Medicare eligible and you’re enrolled in a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan, you need to make changes to your Part D Prescription Drug plan during AEP (October 15 through December 7 of every year). Part D beneficiaries won’t qualify for plan changes during OEP.
Other Coverage Changes in Medicare 2019
1. Starting in April of 2018, Medicare recipients will start to receive new Medicare ID cards that no longer have a Social Security number displayed on them. This change was announced in September 2017, the biggest reason for the change was to help prevent seniors from being victims of identity theft and fraud.
a. As required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act-MACRA all beneficiaries will have a new Medicare ID cards by April 2019. The new cards will display a random ID number instead of Social Security numbers.
2. In 2019, a new premium bracket for the highest-income Part B and Part D enrollees with go into effect. Under the BBA 2018 enrollees with an income of $500,000 or more ($750,000 for married couples) will pay a higher premium for Part B and Part D coverage.
3. The coverage gap will be eliminated in 2019 for brand-name drugs, which is a year sooner than predicted. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA 2018) will close the donut hole one for brand name drugs. This means that beneficiaries will only pay 25% of the cost of brand name drugs. The cost of closing the donut hole for brand name prescriptions is being shifted to the drug manufactures instead of insurance companies or beneficiaries.
4. Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans change every year. 33 percent of Medicare recipients enrolled into a Medicare Advantage plan in 2017. These plans are popular, but they change every year, it’s important to stay informed on yearly plan changes.
5. For those on Social Security, you might notice an almost 3% increase on your social security checks. This could be up to an additional $500 per year.
Each year by September 30th, Medicare Advantage recipients receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from their existing insurance carrier for their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription drug plan providers.
Medicare Supplements don’t change year to year. You can expect consistent benefits from one year to the next year.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid services posts plan changes for the following year sometime in October, several months before the new year begins. Medicare.gov is a valuable resource that
Medicare beneficiaries can use to compare plans, look up information and learn more about Medicare.
The changes for 2019 will be beneficial to many Medicare recipients; freedom to change plans, more social security income, new Medicare ID cards and so much more.