Medicare News: Open Enrollment Deadline and New Card Scams to Avoid
It’s that time of year again! Medicare’s annual open enrollment period began in mid-October and will run until December 7. During this period, people already enrolled in Medicare can make certain changes to their coverage:
Switch between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage
Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
Switch from one Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to another
Enroll in Medicare Part D if you haven’t already (although a late enrollment penalty may apply)
Open enrollment is the time to evaluate whether your current plan still fits your needs. You can compare how much you will pay under different plans, taking into consideration costs like premiums, deductibles, drug expenses, and possible out-of-network charges. If you have Part D prescription drug coverage, make sure your plan still covers the medications you need. Each plan will have a formulary list of covered drugs.
If you are already enrolled in a Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan and you don’t want to make any changes to your coverage, there is nothing for you to do. If you do switch plans, new coverage begins January 1, 2018.
In other Medicare news, current Medicare ID cards that display the beneficiary’s Social Security number on the front are being replaced in an effort to combat identity theft and fraud. Beginning in April 2018, new cards will have a randomly generated ID number called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). The new ID cards will be mailed out by geographic location over the course of a year. All beneficiaries will have them by April 2019.
Be aware that scams relating to new cards are already surfacing. There are reports of calls telling beneficiaries they must pay for a new card and provide checking account information and numbers from current Medicare cards. You do not have to do anything or pay anything to receive a new card. Your coverage and benefits will not change.