PRLog - Sep. 28, 2010 - COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- The Annual Election Period for Medicare part D and Medicare Advantage plans is coming up, from November 15th to December 31. There are changes this year that you need to be careful of that might have an impact on your coverage. This is the time in which you can make a change to your Medicare prescription drug plan, or to your Medicare Advantage plan, if you are a member.
Open Enrollment Period Cancelled
In the past there were two enrollment periods, Annual Election Period was Nov 15-Dec 31, and Open Enrollment Period was Jan 1-March 31. During the Nov 15 to Dec 31 period, you could make as many changes as you wanted, and during the Jan 1 to March 31 period you could make one change and after that you were locked into whatever plan you had chosen. This year the Open Enrollment Period has been done away with, and after Dec 31, the only change you can make during the new Annual Disenrollment Period from Jan 1 to March 31 is to disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and return to original Medicare with a part D.
A large number of Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare part D plans have been cancelled this year. If your plan was cancelled, a notice letter will be mailed out from your carrier on October 1 to notify you of the cancellation. If your plan was cancelled, you will be allowed a special election period on January 1st that lasts 63 days in which you will be allowed to choose a new plan because of your involuntary disenrollment. If your Medicare Advantage plan was cancelled, you do not have to remain with the same company or take the alternative plan they offer, and can move to any company: You cannot be declined coverage for any reason. If your part D plan was cancelled, you can move to any part D carrier you want, but do not gain a guaranteed issue period for a Medicare Supplement.
Tennessee Part D
Last year there were 46 different Part D plans available in Tennessee. Center for Medicare Services requested that the carriers reduce the number of plans they were offering, and this year there are 30. There have also been very significant changes as to how Medicare part D works. Most plans now offer coverage inside the coverage gap, or doughnut hole. Several plans have had rate changes and formulary changes. If your plan was cancelled and you do not enroll into a new coverage before the end of your election period, you will be subject to the 1% fine per month that is added to your part D or Medicare Advantage premiums permanently for not enrolling.
Tennessee Medicare Advantage
This year many of the Medicare plans that were known as PFFS or Private Fee For Service plans have been eliminated. Only a very few zip codes in Tennessee still have plans of that nature, and most have been replaced by PPO plans. The big difference in a PFFS plan and PPO plan is that a PPO plan has a network, you are not required to use the network but if you want to use out of network doctors they can choose to refuse the insurance and will charge a higher copayment amount. Any doctor can choose to refuse to accept a PFFS style plan at any time, so this is arguably a positive change overall.
Visit http://www.lifeplanningtn.com to ask questions about plan changes or availablity in your area, or to request a quote for Tennessee Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, or Part D.
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About Life Planning TN: Life Planning TN http://www.lifeplanningtn.com is a full service Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Part D broker in Cookeville, Tennessee. We also provide health insurance, life insurance, and estate planning services.