Medicare Advantage Plans Types and Enrollment Periods

It’s that time of year again.

Annual Election Period (AEP)
The Annual Coordinated Election Period runs from November 15 through December 31 each year. Medicare beneficiaries can change Medicare Advantage plans or change their Part “D” prescription drug plan during this time frame. During this time frame a Medicare beneficiary can also choose to return to original Medicare, or enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time. Enrollment changes take effect on January 1.

Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
The Open Enrollment Period extends from January 1 through March 31. During this time Medicare beneficiaries have one opportunity to enroll in, disenroll from, or change a Medicare Advantage plan. The change in Medicare Advantage enrollment or disenrollment becomes effective the month after the change is made.

Only Medicare beneficiaries who are eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan may make a change during the Open Enrollment Period. A beneficiary who has both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B and wants to change must live in the area served by the Medicare Advantage plan.
During the open enrollment period beneficiaries may not add or drop Part D drug coverage. Medicare beneficiaries who already have drug coverage can only change to another plan that provides drug coverage. Medicare beneficiaries who do not have drug coverage may not change to an option that provides drug coverage.

Permissible changes during the Open Enrollment Period include:

-MA-PD to Original Medicare and a PDP
-MA-PD to a different MA-PD
-MA-only plan to original Medicare
-Original Medicare and a PDP to an MA-PD
-MA-only plan to a different MA-only plan
-Original Medicare to a MA-only plan

Beneficiaries who want to use the Open Enrollment Period to return to Original Medicare from an MA-PD must do so by enrolling in a PDP. Enrollment in a PDP during either the Annual Coordinated Election Period or the Open Enrollment Period terminates enrollment in a Medicare Advantage plan. Because beneficiaries are generally limited to changing their prescription drug coverage during the Annual Coordinated Election Period, MA-PD enrollees who want to return to Original Medicare during the Open Enrollment Period have a Part D Special Enrollment Period that allows them to make one enrollment into a PDP.

An overview of the different plan types.

Local HMOs and PPOs contract with network providers to deliver Medicare benefits. In 2008, 68% of all HMO and local PPO plans also offered Part D drug benefits. These local HMO and PPO plans account for 64% and 7% of total MA enrollment respectively.
Private Fee-for-Service plans (PFFS) are designed to allow open access to providers. PFFS plans are not required to establish provider networks, report quality measures, or have Medicare review and negotiate bids. The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act requires Private Fee-for-Service plans to comply with new quality reporting requirements and, beginning in 2011, to form provider networks in certain counties. From July 2006 to July 2008, PFFS enrollment nearly tripled from 765,000 enrollees to 2.3 million (22% of total MA enrollment).
Regional PPOs were established under the MMA to provide rural beneficiaries greater access to MA plans, with a $10 billion “stabilization fund” to encourage entry of regional PPOs. This fund was virtually eliminated under the MIPPA. In 2008, regional PPOs are available in all but five of the 26 MA regions but account for only 3% of all MA enrollees.
Medical savings account plans (MSAs) combine a high deductible health plan with an MSA into which Medicare makes annual deposits on behalf of enrollees. Beneficiaries draw from these funds to pay for qualified health care expenses until they meet a deductible (ranging from $2,500 to $5,100 in 2008), at which point the plan pays for all Medicare-covered services. In 2008, MSA plans have only 3,529 MA enrollees.

Special Needs Plans (SNPs), mainly HMOs, are restricted to beneficiaries who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, live in long-term care institutions, or have certain severe and disabling conditions. The number of SNPs increased from 125 in 2005 to 769 in 2008, with 1.2 million enrollees as of July 2008, mainly dual eligibles. The MIPPA reauthorized SNPs through 2010, but prohibits the entry of new SNPs until then.
Other plan types, including cost, HCPP, PACE contracts, demonstrations and pilots, account for 4% of MA enrollment.

For more Information on how to enroll in a California Medicare Advantage Plan call Matt Lockard at 1-866-861-0477.

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5 Comments

  • it-ideas.com says:

    Medicare Advantage Plans Types and Enrollment Periods…

    Annual Election Period (AEP)
    The Annual Coordinated Election Period runs from November 15 through December 31 each year. Medicare beneficiaries can change Medicare Advantage plans or change their Part D prescription drug plan during this time frame. …

  • Medicare Advantage Plans Types and Enrollment Periods…

    Annual Election Period (AEP)
    The Annual Coordinated Election Period runs from November 15 through December 31 each year. Medicare beneficiaries can change Medicare Advantage plans or change their Part “D” prescription drug plan during this time frame. …

  • Medicare Advantage Plans Types and Enrollment Periods…

    Annual Election Period (AEP)
    The Annual Coordinated Election Period runs from November 15 through December 31 each year. Medicare beneficiaries can change Medicare Advantage plans or change their Part “D” prescription drug plan during this time frame. …

  • pligg.com says:

    Medicare Advantage Plans Types and Enrollment Periods…

    Annual Election Period (AEP)
    The Annual Coordinated Election Period runs from November 15 through December 31 each year. Medicare beneficiaries can change Medicare Advantage plans or change their Part “D” prescription drug plan during this time frame. …

  • Sandra says:

    I am on Anthem Blue and they keep denying claims and making errors. I take Lipitor and Lyrica and several other meds that are usually on lower tier formularies.
    Do you have any suggestions on which plan would be economical? I am on a limited income too.
    Sandra

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