As noted in a recent CMA Alert, Medicare’s Open Enrollment period – also known as the Annual Election Period or Annual Coordinated Election Period – runs from October 15 through December 7. During this time all Medicare beneficiaries can reevaluate their coverage, and make changes, whether they are in Original/Traditional Medicare with separate Part D drug coverage, or in a private Medicare Advantage plan. And there are many plans to choose from – in 2021, the average Medicare beneficiary can choose among 33 Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and 30 Part D stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs).
As discussed in our Special Report, however, while beneficiaries should review their MA and Part D coverage every year to determine if their current options meet their specific health care needs, most do not do so. For those who do compare plans, the means of comparison – such as plan quality ratings – are often flawed. And from whom should beneficiaries get their information? In recent years, the Medicare program’s own materials have departed from a neutral presentation of information and have steered people towards MA plans – with a welcome, recent reversal. Those with a pecuniary interest in a given beneficiary’s coverage choices – including insurance plans and agents and brokers – are happy to step in. These dynamics contribute to a flawed system of coverage “choice” in the Medicare program.
- Read the full Report at https://medicareadvocacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Report-AEP-and-MA.pdf