Annual changes to Medicare Part D plans mean seniors should be vigilant to ensure that they continue to receive high-quality coverage from a stable and reliable source
August 19, 2011
In 2010, only 1 in 5 Medicare beneficiaries over the age of 65 planned to review their Medicare coverage options for 20111. Why is this statistic troubling? Because Medicare health plans change every year. Benefits can change, costs can change, entire plans can disappear–and there can be real consequences for seniors who don't stay informed. WPS Health Insurance, Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer and provider of Medicare supplement insurance plans and Medicare Part D plans, reminds Medicare beneficiaries to review their prescription drug coverage options during Medicare's Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).
"Medicare's AEP is the time when seniors may change Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan (PDP), change their Part D prescription drug plans, or return to Original Medicare," said Jim Baird, Vice President of Individual Sales at WPS Health Insurance. "This fall, Medicare's AEP will begin and end almost a full month earlier than previous years. During this time, it is crucial that seniors review their coverage and make sure their current plan still meets their needs."
In particular, seniors should take time to review their Annual Notice of Change, the document sent by insurance companies that explains which benefits have changed, and how they have changed, for the upcoming plan year. This year, notices are due to arrive by September 30. Notices will detail changes to the plan, such as changes in the premium, copays, drug formulary (for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans), tiers and restrictions, and will compare the benefits in 2012 with those in 2011. With these updates in mind, seniors can shop around and compare plans to see if their current coverage still offers sufficient protection at a competitive price.
"WPS recommends that seniors make coverage decisions based on long-term value and benefits. The lowest-cost plan isn't always the best choice, and it may not even be the most affordable if it comes with high out-of-pocket costs or high rate increases after the initial low rate."— Jim Baird, V.P. of Individual Sales, WPS Health Insurance
Sometimes, seniors don't realize their plan is inadequate until their health begins to decline. "At that point, it can be very difficult to switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to a high-quality Medicare supplement plan and Medicare Part D plan that will cover a greater portion of their medical costs. So look for a plan that will give you the protection you need, both today and in the unpredictable future," concludes Baird.
Forty-five years of experience serving seniors on Medicare.
WPS has served seniors on Medicare since the program began in 1966. Today, the company's Medicare supplement plan, the WPS Medicare Companion, is the #1 choice of Wisconsin seniors, outselling all other supplements in the state2. In addition, more than 25,000 seniors have enrolled in the company's Medicare Part D plans–making WPS the largest not-for-profit Part D plan provider in Wisconsin3.
WPS encourages seniors who have Medicare-specific questions to visit the
Official US Government Medicare website or call 1 800 MEDICARE (800-633-4227).
About WPS Health Insurance
Founded in 1946, WPS is Wisconsin's leading not-for-profit health insurer, offering affordable individual health insurance, family health insurance, high-deductible health plans, and short-term health insurance, as well as flexible and affordable group plans and cost-effective benefit plan administration for businesses. In addition, the WPS Medicare division administers Part A and B benefits for millions of seniors in multiple states, and the WPS TRICARE division serves millions more members of the U.S. military and their families. In 2010 and 2011, WPS was recognized by the international Ethisphere® Institute as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies, and is the only health insurance company to earn this distinction. For more information about WPS Health Insurance, visit http://www.wpsic.com.