Open enrollment for Medicare recipients starts October 15, 2016 and end on December 7, 2016 to make changes to your Medicare Advantage Plan (MAPD) or Prescription Drug plans. Those changes become effective January 1, 2017.
Anyone using a broker to help select the best plans pays no more than of they went directly to the carrier. In order words, the brokers get paid from the insurance company and the client pays nothing extra for the service.
Below are some items any informed consumer would want to understand before making any changes.
1. MAPD plans in Nevada are either an HMO or PPO. There are several choices in each segment. The HMO options in alphabetical order are AARP Medicare Complete, Aetna, Caremore, Humana, and Senior Dimensions. They are all good plans and each offers something different. To learn about those differences please call a local broker to learn about plan specifics. The PPO options in alphabetical order are Aetna or Humana. Each offers two plans. Again call a local broker to learn about plan specifics.
2. Prescription drug plans (PDP) are also available to change during the AEP. There are 25 different plans available in Nevada, so the difficulty is determining which plan best fits your needs. This is an area that you need to make sure all your current medications are available in the plan you choose. To do that you need to do some homework or call a local broker for help. Here’s what that broker should do for you to help you find the best drug plan for you. He or she will go to Medicare.gov and using your home zip code as an identifier load in your specific drugs and let the system show you the plan that works best for you. First you look at the drugs, does the plan cover them all? Next what drug tier are your drugs so you can keep the costs as low as possible. Also can you substitute a generic for a brand drug to lower your costs? Lastly, are there any drug restrictions? Once you’ve examined these factors, you can choose the best plan for you. As I mentioned earlier in this blog, there are 25 different plans available in Nevada. It’s a good chance that your local broker doesn’t represent all those plans (there are even plans that do not allow a brokers to sell their plans). In that case a good broker will simply help you enroll in the best plan for regardless if they get paid or not. That’s what I do all the time.
Lastly, if you made a mistake you have between January 1st through February 14th to go back to Original Medicare and get a prescription drug plan or even obtain a Medicare Supplement.
Len Barend, broker.
The Barend Agency Inc.