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You Have Until Midnight Dec. 7 To Make A Change

Question: Can I make an enrollment change on Dec. 7?

Answer: The media coverage for the Annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP) of Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 is intensive. It is hard to imagine missing all the ads in the newspaper, magazines and TV.

Not even mentioning the mail that you get from the companies, wanting you to take their product over the others available.You have until midnight on Dec. 7 to make a change

If you have already made a choice and now have changed your mind, you can do a new enrollment. The last enrollment you do before Dec. 7 is the plan enrollment that you will have.

Even if you do your enrollment choice at the last minute, you should still get your information prior to Jan. 1, 2020. If you need to fill a prescription in January before you get your ID card, you can call the company you chose and see if you are in its files.

If you call your new company and they give you your ID numbers, you can take this information to your pharmacist and he can fill your prescriptions using your new plan.

If you are not in the system yet, you may need to fill the prescription anyway. Pay full price and then file a claim with the company to get back any money you are due.

If it gets to be close to the end of December and you haven’t heard from the company you chose, please call the company. The new mymedicare.gov website also can help with this. Within 10 days of enrolling in your plan, your information will show up on the website. May be able to print temporary insurance information to use until you get the official information. Remember that most people complete their enrollment through the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Medicare is collecting the enrollment, and sends it on to the insurance company to process. This communication takes time. Yes, computers are fast, but there are many thousands of Medicare recipients making these changes right now.

Medicare also communicates the disenrollment to your 2019 insurance plan. You will continue to get information from your old company for a number of months, because they will continue to cover you for the month of December. You usually do not need to contact your old plan and disenroll, Medicare does that for you.

Two exceptions to that rule are if you have a PFFS plan, or a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap). These plans are NOT tied to your Prescription Drug plan. If you have one of these plans and wish to change your coverage you must write a letter to cancel those types of insurance.

Do not to use your old 2019 insurance cards after Jan. 1, 2020. If you do this, the old company will come back to your pharmacy for the money it paid on your behalf. Then your pharmacists will have to contact you to get your new information and re-bill the correct plan.

You may also have special enrollment periods open to you to make a switch later on in 2019 and 2020. There are Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) available to us throughout the year, but be sure your choice is the best you can make with the information you have available to you.

A SEP that we can commonly use once each year is if ‘you are enrolled in EPIC’. EPIC is the New York State Pharmacy Assistance Product that gives you extra coverage for your Prescription Drugs. This SEP can be used later in December or anytime during 2020. To contact Janell Sluga, GCMC with questions or concerns, call 720-9797 or e-mail at janells@lutheran-jamestown.org.

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