I haven’t written since the start of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period because I’ve been busy responding to calls from clients who want to change their Medicare Advantage plan or their stand-alone Part D plan. Here are a few things that have come up:
Part D plans with deductibles: A few clients have called me to complain that they don’t like their low-cost Part D plan because having a deductible is confusing. They take generics and have not met their annual deductible ($325 this year). So they wonder why they are paying a monthly premium when they are paying retail prices for their drugs.
I get a list of their prescriptions and put them into the Medicare.gov Plan Finder to see if there is anything better for them. There is one plan for 2014 that is only $14 (and change) and has no deductible. All the other low-cost plans (and some not-so-low-cost) have deductibles next year. I tell them they can switch to the $14 plan, but I cannot guarantee it will not double the premium next year, as happened with the First Health Value Plan.
Medicare.gov has been updated and fixed since the government shut-down. But, after finding a plan that looks good for a client, I then go to that company’s website and put his drug list into the company calculator to be sure I have the correct information.
The plan that is cancelling Silver Sneakers is generating calls from people who want to change plans. But I met with one couple last week and the husband said he’d keep the plan because it does not require referrals to see a specialist. That is more important to him than a free gym membership. His wife disagreed and will probably change to another plan.
People enrolled in the Health Net Amber plan got a confusing letter two weeks ago. The Amber plan is being cancelled as of December 31st and people enrolled in the plan had already received this notice. Then the plan sent out a letter that said, “You disenrolled from this plan…..if you did not intend to disenroll…… call us.…” Boy, did that cause some confusion and phone calls. The plan is definitely ending and everyone enrolled in the plan must select a new one – or they will be returned to “Original Medicare” as of January 1st.
Confusing Part D materials: These Amber plan enrollees also got more confusing material last week. It seems Medicare assumes that many of the Amber plan enrollees (who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid/AHCCCS) might not select a new Medicare Advantage plan by the end of the year. So Medicare has already enrolled them into a Part D drug plan.
I have clients who called me about receiving information from Humana when they have never spoken to anyone about these companies and their plans. I stopped by a client’s house to look at the material – and I was confused by it. So we called Medicare and learned that she had been enrolled in the Humana Part D plan for January 1. But not to worry…. if she enrolls in a Medicare Advantage plan in the meantime, the Humana Part D enrollment will be nullified.