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You Can Change To A Different Plan Online If You Need To Using The Provided SEP

Question: Since I used medicare.gov to choose my Part D plan for 2020, can I change to a different plan if I need to?

Answer: In 2020 the answer to this question is yes. As you may remember Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated the medicare.gov website on Oct. 1, 2019 which was the same day that the new plans for 2020 were released. This created a perfect storm for seniors trying to evaluate their drug plans. With glitches in the system, some of the data did not compile accurately or easily in the beginning.

Many agencies and seniors themselves complained to CMS and our Federal Representatives about this situation. That complaint process created enough pressure that CMS has instituted a new Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for this year.

Here are the steps to use this SEP:

¯ You must call (800) 633-4227.

¯ You must explain to the customer service Representative your situation.

¯ You also must be prepared to name the new Medicare Advantage Plan or Stand Alone Part D Plan you wish to enroll in.

So in preparation to use this SEP, I would recommend that you do some research by yourself or with the help of someone who is familiar with the medicare.gov website. Evaluate which plan works best for you, your current medication and health situation for 2020. Once you have decided on the plan for you in 2020, you then call (800) 633-4227, to speak with a customer service representative to tell them your situation and your new choice.

The new plan will begin the first of the following month that you call and use this SEP.

This is a good opportunity for everyone because you do not need to provide proof of any misinformation or confusion you had. You simply state you are unhappy with your plan and the information you received from the medicare.gov website during the annual open enrollment period.

This also can be used if you didn’t change your plan at all for 2020. Maybe you stayed with your current plan because you thought it would work fine in 2020. Now you think otherwise, you can change your plan using this SEP.

Maybe you chose your plan based on the medications you take, and later you get a new medication and need a different Part D plan that covers that new medication more comprehensively.

Maybe you have a Medicare Advantage Plan and now feel that original Medicare plus Medicare supplement plus Part D plan would be a better fit for you.

Maybe you have original Medicare plus Part D Plan and you want a Medicare Advantage Plan.

You can use this SEP anytime in 2020. You simply call (800) 633-4227 and follow the protocol, saying you are unhappy with the plan you chose for 2020 and want to change to your new plan of choice.

It is important to remember that you must know which plan you want to switch to in order to use this SEP. So you have to do the research prior to calling.

It is also significant that you don’t have to provide any proof of the misinformation or confusion you experience. This is that “get out of jail card free” that you may need to change your insurance in 2020.

This is an SEP that is open to everyone for 2020. This is a SEP that can be used only once in 2020.

If you call (800) 633-4227 and have issues with using this SEP, I do recommend asking to speak with a supervisor. I believe that the first customer service representative you speak to will be able to help you, but if not, simply ask for a supervisor.

It is always my hope that your insurance works just fine all year long.

To contact Janell Sluga, GCMC with questions or concerns, please call 720-9797 or e-mail her at janells@lutheran-jamestown.org .

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