December 7th is the last day for most people to make changes to their Part D or Medicare Advantage coverage. However, CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) is giving some leeway in this date to organizations that help people with their Medicare choices. These would be not-for-profit, or government organizations that provide guidance, such as SHIPs (Senior Health Insurance Program).
The Pima Council on Aging would be one of these organizations that helps people sort through their many choices. If a person requested help, but has not yet been served, it looks like they will get a bit more time to make changes to their coverage. This does not apply to insurance agents or companies that provide similar services.
I’ve gotten calls from a number of people who were worried about meeting the December 7th deadline, but it turned out this deadline does not apply to them.
SPECIAL ENROLLMENT: Move
If a person has moved to Tucson from another state and has to change their Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, they have 63 days from the date of their move to enroll in a new plan.
SPECIAL ENROLLMENT: Low Income Subsidy
Anyone who receives help with their drug costs and Part D premium can change their Medicare Advantage or Part D plan at any time during the year.
SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD: Losing Employer Group Health Plan
If someone has decided to drop their employer’s coverage, they have 63 days to get a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. Or if a person has been working after 65 and is just starting to use Medicare Part B, they get this special enrollment period as well.
CHRONIC ILLNESS PLANS
There are several chronic illness plans in Tucson and Phoenix, and if a person has one of the covered illnesses, they can enroll at any time during the year. Conditions that qualify are: Diabetes, Chronic Heart Failure, Breathing illnesses such as asthma, emphysema or COPD.