I Received An Annual Notice of Change from My Part D Plan. What Now?
If you’re enrolled in Medicare Advantage or a Part D plan, every autumn, you can expect to receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) document from your carrier. It’s supposed to arrive not later than September 30th. If you haven’t received your ANOC in the mail by then, call and ask them to send it to you!
The day you receive your ANOC is a great day to begin shopping around for your new prescription drug coverage plan.
Your ANOC will tell you about any changes in your Part D plan for the coming year.
Here are some things to look out for:
- Your company may announce a price increase for some drugs. Sometimes prices can go up by hundreds of dollars for a single drug.
- Your company may drop a drug from its formulary altogether.
- It may become more difficult to get approved for certain drugs.
- Your own medical situation may have changed, making your current plan a poor match for your needs.
- You may have relocated, necessitating a change in network or pharmacy.
- Your network may have changed, making access to pharmacies and other local providers less convenient.
Change is inevitable. But fortunately, you can do something to protect your own interests, too: You can shop around for a better deal.
The catch: You have to do your shopping around and choose a new plan during the annual open enrollment, which starts on October 15th and lasts through December 7th. Indeed, it’s a great idea to explore your coverage options every year.
That’s where we come in.
Most parts of the country have a number of Medicare prescription drug plans for you to choose from. That’s a lot of information to process. But fortunately, we have tools available to help you select the best Part D plan for you.
You can use the Medicare Plan Finder, available on the Medicare.gov site, or you can just give us a call. For best results, have your Medicare Number available. For optimal results, have the names of any prescription drugs you are taking, plus dosages, ready when you call. We can drill down the very best Prescription Drug Plan available in your zip code using this information and provide you with the best recommendation possible for a Part D plan.
What if there’s little or no change to my existing plan?
Even if you believe you’re happy with your coverage, or if your ANOC doesn’t announce much change in your coverage at all, it’s still a great idea to shop around. Other plans may well have become more competitive than they were when you last signed up.
And it costs nothing to look!
My premiums are low. Is there anything else to look at?
Premiums are just one of many factors to consider. Other factors include the copay or coinsurance your plan charges, how it treats generics, and whether your plan adds restrictions that force your doctor to get special permission from your insurance company to prescribe certain drugs before your carrier will cover the prescription.
If you had to get some special authorization this year, you may want to call your carrier and see if your doctor will have to get a re-authorization in order for you to continue taking the drug and have your insurance company pay the benefit.
Tip. If your plan stops covering a drug you need, you can go through the ‘exception’ process, or change to another formulary drug prior to year-end. Your doctor may be able to help you with identifying an alternate drug. Your carrier must help you complete the exception process or make the change to another formulary. If they don’t, your plan must provide a 30-day supply of the drug during the first 90 days of the new year.
The Advantage of an Independent Insurance Broker
I’m Chad Cason, an independent Medigap, Medicare Advantage and Part D plan insurance broker. As an independent broker, rather than a captive agent or a captive call center at a single carrier, I can help you select the best Medigap, Medicare Advantage or Part D plan for you. I am not limited to recommending only “in-house” coverage.
For most people, calling an independent insurance broker is a much better option than calling every plan operating in your community. We can help you make an informed decision, and do it much faster and more efficiently than most people can on their own.
The worst thing you can do, though, is ignore your ANOC, or put it away planning to get to it later. When you receive your ANOC, collect your prescription information and Medicare number and call me right away. We can get the ball rolling, find the best plan for your situation, and very likely save you money in the process.
I’m located in Georgia, but I can help any Medicare beneficiary, anywhere in the country.
What does it cost?
Nothing! Our services are always free to the client. If we find a better plan for you, the carrier pays us!
So there’s no downside. Call me when you get your ANOC letter, and let’s find your plan. (888) 901-4870