The Med Diva

An insider's guide to Medicare Part D and more

Countdown to Medicare Part D Open Enrollment: Day 13

Open Enrollment for 2012 begins on Saturday, October 15, and ends on Wednesday, December 7, 2011.

 Day 13: Ensuring that your plan still has you covered in 2012

If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan, one of the first things you should do sooner than later is confirm that your current plan is going to continue covering your medications in 2012. You should also make sure that your drugs will be in the same cost-sharing tier next year.  If your plan is not going to cover one or more of your medications next year—or your drug is being moved to a higher cost-sharing tier (for example, it’s switching from a Tier 1 to a Tier 2 drug), you may want to shop around for a new plan during the Open Enrollment period.

Although Medicare requires all Part D plans to cover at least two drugs in each therapeutic drug category, each Medicare prescription drug plan has its own list of covered prescription drugs, which is called a formulary. Formularies include both generic drugs and brand-name drugs.

 Pay Special Attention to the Annual Notice of Change

All Part D plans can make changes to their formulary for the coming year, so you should never assume that your current plan will have you covered in 2012 just because it covers all your drugs this year. That’s why it’s critical to review your plan’s Annual Notice of Change, which you should have received by September 30.  

 Take a moment now to review the plan’s formulary, which should have been included in the Annual Notice of Change documentation. Ignoring the formulary now and not double-checking that your drugs will be covered  in 2012 could leave you stuck in a plan that may not be right for you—and may end up costing more than you should have to pay for your Medicare prescription drug benefit.


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