Enrolling with a specific Part D drug plan does not limit you from switching to another plan, or with a completely different insurer for that matter. There are plenty of valid reasons for wanting to switch to a different plan. You may be interested with enrolling into a different plan because:
- your old plan doesn’t cover the new medication that you are going to begin taking, or requires you to pay a higher co-pay for that particular drug
- one of your current medications gets the boot from your current plan
- the terms of coverage are changed, or its premium is raised making another plan more suitable
- you learn about a completely different plan that is available in your area or a new one comes onto the market
It makes no difference as to what your reason is. You can switch as often a you’d like, it may annually or very few months (as long you fit within certain categories).
When You May Switch Plans
Switching monthly. Certain recipients are able to switch on a monthly basis with coverage beginning on the 1st of the month that follows enrollment. Dual eligible – these are people that are enrolled in Medicaid as well as Medicare. Medicare recipients that live in a long-term care nursing facility may enroll with another plan as they please as long the facility is certified with Medicare.
Switching annually. Everyone else can switch on an annual basis but it has to be during the open enrollment period which begins on October 25 and runs through December 7 every year (if the dates change there will be advance notice).
Plans that you May Switch to
As long as the plan is approved by Medicare then you can switch to it. If the switch will be happening during the enrollment period then you may enroll with a plan that is supposed to become available the following year which is currently 2013.
Those that are dual-eligible (they’re enrolled with Medicare and Medicaid), there full premium will only be covered by Medicare/Medicaid if the cost is below the state average for every Part D or Advantage plan with prescription coverage that is within the state. If your rate is higher then the average, you will be forced to swallow the difference in cost.
How to Switch
There are several steps that have to be taken in order to switch (they are not difficult).
1. Select the plan that seems like it is right for you
2. Contact the insurer and find out if you’re eligible for it. The company will give you direction that have to be followed if you’re eligible
3. As soon as the new insurer sends over paper confirmation that you’ve been approved, cancel your old policy. Even if the new insurer says they’ll handle the cancellation, get involved and make sure it happens.
It’s important not cancel your old plan too early and also too not double-pay, you’ve got to time it perfectly. Make sure your old plan is cancelled by the time your new coverage takes effect.
Let your pharmacist know what’s going on. Once you receive written confirmation, send over all your new billing information to the pharmacy that you frequently use.
Don’t forget about your states Assistance Programs which happens to be called SHIPs. See https://shipnpr.shiptalk.org for information on your states program.