New year FAQs for Medicare Beneficiaries
Where is my new insurance card?
Whether you made a plan change or not you may be looking for a new card in the mail. If you did make a plan change you certainly need to ensure you have that new card as soon as possible after the new year. Medicare Part D and C plans often change on a January 1st changeover when a new plan election was made during the Annual Election Period.
It is possible you made a Medigap plan change with a January 1st changeover as well, though typically there is no requirement for those effective dates to be on the first day of the calendar year.
If you are approaching January 1st and still have not received your card, do not get scared. It is quite common for the carriers to get bogged down around this time and be behind. Normally you can download their application on the Apple or Google Play store or go online and download a digital card. If that isn’t a viable option for you then you can certainly call your agent or directly into the carrier you’re expecting to be enrolled in. Lastly, your MyMedicare.gov account has all of the information that should be on your Part D or C card for prescription refills.
What can I do January 1st to March 31st?
A few years ago the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services reinstated the MAOEP or Medicare Advantage Plan Open Enrollment Period. This is specifically utilizable for people on a Medicare Advantage plan. You can change your Medicare Advantage Plan to another or disenroll and go back to Traditional Medicare during this time. You cannot swap your Part D plan during this time unless you have a special enrollment period of some sort.
It is quite common these days to see Special Enrollment Periods for all sorts of things. Of course people who qualify for Low Income Subsidies get a quarterly election, but more impactful these days seems to be the commonly available FEMA Disaster SEP for certain weather anomalies.
Why do people keep calling me?
Well, a few years back, calls seemed to go down after AEP ended. However, because of reasons stated above on SEPs and the MAOEP, call centers are still trying to take advantage of seemingly wide open year round enrollment opportunities.
Technically these companies are not supposed to “Market” OEP, so if you feel they are doing that you can report them.
We have seen a massive uptick in Medicare Advantage telemarketing out of the Middle East this year. It is very annoying to our clients. These Pakistani call centers are ruthless and mostly transitioning or transferring these calls to the some of the least qualified agents in the country.
Our advice, ignore all of that and use a local agency.