The open enrollment period for 2014 runs from October 15-December 7, 2013. This is not only a period where you may enroll for the program, but also switch providers for your comprehensive health and drug coverage.
This fall and winter, there are three periods in which Medicare beneficiaries can either enroll or disenroll in forms of coverage:
This is when you can elect to leave Original Medicare (Parts A and B) for a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) and change your prescription drug coverage (Part D). You can also elect to get out of a Part C plan and go back to Parts A and B during this period.
As you probably know, Part C and Part D plans are assigned ratings. Beginning December 8, 2013 and ending November 30, 2014, a window opens for you to enroll in a 5-star Part C or Part D plan. You can do this once per 365 days. How do you find the 5-star plans? Visit www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan.
If you join a Part C plan in late 2013 and want to reverse that decision, you can disenroll from that Medicare Advantage plan in this window of time and go back to Original Medicare with a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
No. Medicare isn’t part of that. If you have Medicare, you are already insured in the eyes of the federal government. You don’t have to make any changes to your Medicare coverage because of the implementation of the exchanges, and your Medicare benefits won’t change as a result of them, whether you have Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan through an HMO or PPO.
In case you are wondering, you can’t buy Part D prescription drug coverage or Medigap insurance through the new online health insurance exchanges.
Be sure to take a look at a few key factors.
According to CBS MoneyWatch, monthly premiums for a stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) under Medicare Part D are projected at $31 for 2014.
The initial deductible for standard Part D prescription drug coverage will be $310 next year. After your total prescription drug costs surpass $310, you’ll pay 25% of your total drug costs between $310-2,970. You’ll find yourself in the “doughnut hole” between $2,970-4,550 (wherein you pay 100% of any drug costs under the standard plan). Should your total prescription drug costs exceed $4,550 in 2014, you’ll be eligible for catastrophic coverage, leaving you on the hook for just 5% of drug costs above that level.