Basic Information For People Just Getting Medicare – Medicare Supplement – Medicare Advantage – Medicare D

If you are eligible for Medicare or will be in the next year, this is for you!

Medicare Advantage

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan (such as Kaiser Senior Advantage or another Medicare Advantage plan available in your County), open enrollment will start October 15 and end on December 7th.

Medicare Supplement

If you have a Medicare Supplement plan, you can change plans during the month of your birthday for an effective date of the first of the next month.

Why would you want to change your Medicare Supplement plan?

If you get a big increase from your current Medicare Supplement plan company because you are another year older (the price usually increases each year, according to your age).  Medicare Supplement plans are standardized and you can switch from one company to another without having to answer questions about your health during your birthday month. You can switch to the same plan or downgrade your plan (such as from a plan F to a plan G) using the birthday rule. We do not recommend switching Medicare Supplement plans unless you have a reason to do that.

Medicare Part D prescription drug plans

Open enrollment for Medicare Part D prescription drug plan open enrollment is also from October 15th to December 7th each year. Part D prescription drug plans are not standardized. We have seen huge fluctuations in cost, benefits, and formulary (the covered drug list) from some companies.  

If you get your annual notice of change on your Part D drug plan and the cost has not gone up very much and you are not notified that the medications you need are changing (sometimes the formulary gets updated depending on the pharmacy committee of that plan’s recommendations for the most clinically effective drugs to treat specific conditions or other instances such as when medications change to be able in a generic drug), then you can keep the Medicare Part D drug plan for another year.

This year Benefit by Design will be using a broker tool called Trusty Care during open enrollment.  

Trusty Care is used to analyze the best and most cost-effective Medicare Plans for you based on your age, your doctors and your medications, depending on your zip code.

Trusty Care gets its data from Medicare sources and aggregates your personal data on the medications you take to recommend you either stay with the Medicare D drug plan you have or switch to another plan. You can either update it yourself (I will send you a link to verify the information we have for you) or we can set up an appointment in September to do it over the phone or on Zoom together.

If you have any questions about this information, please contact Pam Morton at Benefits by Design.