We are about to enter the 2020 Medicare OEP (Open Enrollment Period) which goes from January 1st until March 31st
During the OEP you can change from one MAPD plan to another MAPD plan, but you can only do that once during that period.
Here are the rules:
- Can change from an MAPD plan to another MAPD plan
- Can change a Medicare Advantage Plan (without drugs) to another MA plan
- Can change an MA plan to an MAPD plan
- Can change from an MAPD plan to an MA plan
- Can go back to Original Medicare and buy a drug plan
Here’s what you can’t do:
- Cannot change from one PDP plan to another PDP plan
- Change from a Medicare Savings Account
- Change from a Cost Plan (These plans are being termed in several states and counties) and they will have their special election period (SEP)
The rules seem simple enough, but this broker can’t understand why a Medicare recipient can change MAPD plans but not drug plans? Medications are causing most seniors a lot of money (of course, depending upon the severity of their illness) and you are stuck in a prescription drug plan that may not suit your new needs or help during a new illness. This really makes no sense as the previous OEP allowed you to change drug plans during the OEP.
So, you pick a drug plan during the AEP (Annual Election Period) and you are stuck in that plan for a year even though that plan does not meet your current needs? I know Congress would not allow that to happen to themselves so why are they allowing it to happen to the Medicare recipients across the country?
It seems to this blogger that Congress needs to fix this in order to serve the Medicare recipients in a manner they deserve. It’s a simple fix by just allowing Medicare recipients to change drug plans once during the OEP. Yet, it is beyond comprehension that this is not allowed. I know it was in the original bill as I helped draft it with my then-Congressman Joe Heck. One question would be why was it removed? What benefits do the Medicare recipient by not allowing this piece to become law? Who benefited by not having this in the law?
This is one of many things in Medicare that needs addressing so the Medicare recipient is treated better, with less hassle and we get a feeling that the government cares about us.
This needs to be addressed by Congress to help seniors who have serious illnesses and cannot get the medications they need without excess cost by keeping them in a plan that no longer serves their needs.
Len Barend, Broker
The Barend Agency Inc