Important Dates for 2016 Medicare Annual Election Period

September 2, 2015

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has declared the 2016 Medicare Annual Election Period

It’s hard to believe, but yes, the Medicare Annual Election Period is just around the corner again!  This applies to anyone who is currently enrolled in Medicare.

The Medicare Annual Election period runs from October 15th, 2015 through December 7th, 2015 this year.  This is the time of year when changes can be made to your Advantage or Supplemental plan.  All elections made during this time period will be effective January 1st, 2016.

If you are happy with the plan you have, simply do nothing.  If you want to consider other options for the 2016 plan year, please keep reading.

If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan (MAPD) For 2016, there will be a 45-day Annual Disenrollment Period from January 1st through February 14th, during which time you may unenroll once from a Medicare Advantage plan to enroll in Original Medicare, Part C (Supplement), AND a Part D (Drug) plan. You can no longer make changes between MAPD plans during this time.

At L&A Services we will continue to serve the needs of Medicare beneficiaries which has been our tradition since 1985.  We value you, our client, and invite you to contact our office at your earliest convenience so that we can schedule an appointment at a time good for you.


Donut Hole Fix for Medicare Beneficiaries

November 2, 2012

Seniors are concerned that in the next 2 months they may fall into their ‘donut hole’, if they have not already.  While in the ‘donut hole’, out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs increase for Medicare beneficiaries.   As a solution to this common problem, we have found a way to significantly reduce these costs during this time.

Accepted at thousands of pharmacies, the Arizona Rx Card is a complimentary prescription card that has saved hundreds of dollars in prescription costs for our clients, relatives and friends on Medicare.  We would like to see others use this card to save hundreds more!

Not only does the free card reduce prescription costs up to 78%, the Medication Pricing Guide also allows patients to ‘shop around’ for the best price on the drugs they need based on where they live.  Check your prescriptions here and you will find major price differences between one pharmacy and another.  You must use the Arizona Rx Card to receive the special pricing, and you can download as many as you need on this website.

The Medicare drug plan ‘donut hole’ is scheduled to close entirely by 2020.  Until then, we must find other ways to help our medical dollars stretch further, particularly for those high cost prescription drugs.  We believe this card is one solid solution you and your family members can use right away.

If you have any questions about this card,  please contact L & A Services, Inc at 602-996-6010.


MEDICARE PART D

October 20, 2011

MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION
DRUG COVERAGE (PART D)

Medicare offers prescription drug coverage to everyone with Medicare. Prescription drugs can be a major cost as you age and they are NOT covered by Original Medicare. There are two ways to get Medicare prescription drug coverage:

1.  Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (sometimes called “PDPs”). They can be added to Original Medicare and Medicare Supplement (Medigap) Plans.

2.  Part D coverage may also be included in a Medicare Advantage  plan (sometimes called MA-PDs).

When purchasing a stand-alone Part D insurance plan to go along with a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan, it provides protection against catastrophic health care costs.

Part D plans are offered through private insurance companies. Plans vary widely, as do prices. How specific drugs are covered also differs among plans, too. Even if you do not take a lot of prescriptions now, you should still consider joining a Medicare drug plan. To get Medicare prescription drug coverage, you must join a plan run by an insurance company or other private company approved by Medicare. Each plan can vary in cost and drugs covered.

If you decide NOT to join a Medicare drug plan when you are first eligible, and you do not have other creditable prescription drug coverage, you will likely pay a late enrollment penalty. See BELOW: Employer Coverage.

There are two ways to get Medicare prescription drug coverage:

1. Medicare Prescription Drug Plans. These plans (sometimes called “PDPs”) add drug coverage to Original Medicare and an option to add a Medicare Supplement (Medicare Gap) plan.

2. Medicare Advantage Plans (like an HMO or PPO) or other Medicare health plans that offer Medicare prescription drug coverage. You get all of your Part A and Part B coverage, and rescription drug coverage (Part D), through these plans. Medicare Advantage Plans with prescription drug coverage are sometimes called “MA-PDs.”

Who Can Get Medicare Drug Coverage?

To join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, you must have Medicare

Part A OR Part B. To join a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must have Part A and Part B. You must also live in the service area of the Medicare drug plan you want to join.

OPTIONAL:  Employer or Union Health Coverage—Health coverage from your, your spouse’s, or other family member’s current or former employer or union. If you have prescription drug coverage based on your current or previous employment, your employer or union will notify you each year to let you know if your prescription drug coverage is CREDITABLE.
(This means that your employer prescription coverage is equal to or better than the national medicare Part D coverage.) Keep the information you get each year as you will have to produce a copy of this letter if you decide to change from your employer coverage. Call your benefits administrator for more information before making any changes to your coverage.

Note: If you join a Medicare drug plan you, your spouse, or your dependants may lose your employer or union health coverage. You also may not be able to drop your employer or union drug coverage without also dropping your employer or union health (doctor and hospital) coverage. If you drop your employer or union coverage, you may not be able to get it back.

WE can help you make sure make the RIGHT decision and you have the RIGHT plan for your health and financial needs. Call our office and ask for the Medicare specialists for health and prescription drugs.


Important – Notice of Creditable (or Noncreditable) Coverage – Early Deadline for Employers

October 7, 2011

 Employer group health plans that include prescription coverage to Medicare eligible individuals must distribute a Notice of Creditable Coverage (or Noncreditable Coverage) each year on or before the Annual Election Period for Medicare.  This year that date is October 15th.  In the past it has been November 15th, so employers may not be aware of this change.  These notices are important because if an individual does not maintain creditable coverage for a period of 63 days or longer following his or her initial enrollment period for Medicare Part D, then the individual will be subject to a late enrollment penalty.

An updated model notice is available at http://www.cms.gov/CreditableCoverage/ 

Shortly, insurance carrier will be sending employers notice on whether or not the prescription plan offered is considered creditable or not.  Based on this information, employers will be required to provide the appropriate notice to employees by October 15th.