Basic Information For People Just Getting Medicare – Medicare Supplement – Medicare Advantage – Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage
If you are eligible for Medicare or will be in the next year, this is for you!
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 on October 15 and end on December 7th.
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. This is called the birthday rule.
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 mailing 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.