Millions of people, Medicare beneficiaries and all, will sit through countless hours of commercials highlighting the virtues of different Medicare part D prescription drug plans. After a while, the messages in the commercials are lost and many people begin to ignore them. Although the commercials can be repetitive and tiresome, they have an important message people should be open to hearing. The annual enrollment period for Medicare part D prescription drug plans is quickly approaching.
What is an Annual Enrollment Period?
There are millions of people that are eligible for or already using Medicare part D plans. This is a very important time of the year for those that need to make changes to their drug plan choice and to those that want to begin the new year using their Medicare part D plans. Annual enrollment period is the one time of the year that all those needing to make changes or enroll into a prescription drug plan will have the opportunity to do so.
The annual enrollment period for 2012 will begin on October 15, 2012 and is set to end on December 7, 2012. This is a huge change for those that are used to enrolling at a later time of the year. This change was made for many different reasons but the most pressing is to ensure that those that need to make changes have the opportunity to make those changes.
Who Can Make Changes During AEP?
Those that are new to Medicare are able to enroll into a Medicare part D plan if they would like to. These new beneficiaries may have decided to wait until they can begin their benefits with the new year on purpose or they may have enrolled into their prescription drug plan months before but want a change already. As soon as they find they want to enroll into a new prescription drug plan, they have the opportunity to do so during annual enrollment period.
For the beneficiaries that have used a prescription drug plan for years, annual enrollment period gives them a chance to change their prescription drug plan if they find they don't like the one they have currently. Those that choose to enroll into a new prescription drug plan during this time don't need a specific reason to do so.
In order to enroll into a Medicare part D plan, there has to specific criteria met. The only people that are allowed to enroll into a Medicare part D prescription drug plan are those that are receiving Medicare part A and/or part B. If prospective beneficiaries don't meet these criteria, they won’t be allowed to enroll into prescription drug plan.
When Will the Changes Become Effective?
Those that find themselves making changes to their prescription drug plans often wonder when those changes will become effective. Whenever a person enrolls into a prescription drug plan, they need to understand their benefit year begins and ends just as a calendar year does. Benefits begin on January 1 and ends on December 31. Those that choose to enroll into any time after January 1 will still end their benefit year on December 31.
Those that choose to make changes during this time of the year should expect their new Medicare part D prescription drug plan to become active as of January 1. The effective dates on all Medicare prescription drug plans are mandated to start on this day. The previous year's spending is archived and every beneficiary will begin with their plan's beginning phase.
How Do I Un-enroll from the Old Plan?
When a Medicare beneficiary enrolls into a new prescription drug plan, the records are sent to Medicare. Once those records are sent to Medicare, they will notify the company they will no longer be the insurance provider. It is something that is automatically done because a beneficiary is only allowed to have one prescription drug plan at a time. There is nothing that has to be done aside from enroll into the prescription drug plan of choice.
There are many dates that are important to Medicare beneficiaries. Those that are new to their part D prescription drug plans find they are able to make changes to their insurance providers. Those that have been using their part D benefits and want to make changes without a specific reason are able to do so. The annual enrollment period, from Oct. 15 to Dec 7 is the time of the year to make the changes they want for the 2013 benefit year.