The Medicare.gov Plan Finder has 2012 information available, and there will be 30 stand-alone Part D plans sold in Arizona next year.
From a quick review of 2012 Part D plans, it looks like the two most popular stand-alone plans increased their monthly premiums by less than one dollar. (I can’t mention the names of plans because I am an insurance agent and somebody might say I’m promoting them.)
I had a call from a client who said her Part D premium is going from $25 to $70. At first I thought she was probably confused by the materials she received from her Part D plan. But I discovered that her premium is, indeed, going up that much! This Unicare Part D plan was one of the lowest cost plans without a deductible. I don’t know why anyone would stay in this plan – and I have a few clients in this plan I need to call!
If a plan has a large premium increase, or drops coverage of some drugs, thousands of seniors who don’t pay attention will get a very big shock in January when they get their Part D bill or go to fill a prescription. But in January they will be locked into that Part D plan for all of 2012 – and Medicare won’t make an exception for them just because they didn’t read their mail.
Everyone enrolled in a Part D or Medicare Advantage needs to read the mail they have recently received from their plan, called the “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). The ANOC provides information on any changes that are being made to their plan for 2012.
Part D Changes to look for:
Did the premium increase substantially?
Are all your drugs still covered by the plan – and will the co-pay be around the same price as for 2011? Sometimes plans will move a drug from tier 2 (with a co-pay of $45) to tier 3 (with a co-pay of $80).
Medicare beneficiaries have until December 7th to put in an enrollment form for a new Part D plan that would start on January 1. Insurance agents can talk about plan details as of today, October 1, but they can’t take an enrollment form until October 15th. The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is now October 15th to December 7th.