Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) begins on October 15th and runs through December 7th. We’ve compiled a list of key resources from NCOA and Medicare to assist you with understanding what’s going to change for your clients in 2019, and how you can prepare for your counseling sessions.
Check back often as new resources are added!
Important changes in to Medicare in 2019
Many changes will occur in the coming year that affect enrollment, coverage, and cost considerations in Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. These resources can help you understand what’s happening.
- Get NCOA’s fact sheet outlining these changes, including how policy/practice differs from the current year.
- Read our blog at My Medicare Matters to discover what’s coming (and what’s not) in the mail to beneficiaries this fall.
- Find further information in the 2019 Call Letter and Final Rule published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) earlier this year.
- New! Get the lowdown on the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period coming in January.
Part D cost information
- Part D costs in 2019 are outlined in this fact sheet, including what higher income individuals will pay under Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) rules.
- Our Part D 2019 standard plan cost-sharing chart shows what people pay during the initial coverage period, coverage gap, and catastrophic benefits period.
- The donut hole illustration specifically shows what happens when someone falls into the Part D coverage gap.
- Medicare.gov offers a special training website that allows counselors to test different scenarios when assisting beneficiaries with comparing MA and Part D plans. Use the training scenarios (which have been created with the new unique Medicare identifier numbers).
- NCOA’s 2018-2019 Guide to Mailings and Key Events walks through the different notices that beneficiaries may receive during the year, and what needs to be done in response.
- Our Part D counselor checklist explains what you’ll need to ask clients gather and the key areas to cover during a counseling session, while the consumer checklist helps individuals assess their plan options on their own.
- Get ideas for helping people with Extra Help facing reassignment in this tip sheet from CMS.
- Learn what is acceptable for plans to do when marketing to beneficiaries in this FAQ on communications and marketing guidelines developed for us by the Medicare Rights Center.
Guidance and resources from CMS
CMS has published new guidelines related to plan marketing, as well as enrollment and disenrollment into Medicare Advantage and Medicare cost plans.
- The Medicare & You handbook has begun mailing out and the 2019 version is now online.
- Medicare Managed Care Enrollment and Disenrollment Guidance (changes for 2019 highlighted in red)
- Medicare Cost Plan Enrollment and Disenrollment (changes for 2019 highlighted in red)
- Find links to all of the key CMS and Social Security manuals and guidance in our comprehensive compendium of authority resources.
- CMS also offers partner social media toolkits in English and in Spanish to help counselors and agencies communicate with Medicare beneficiaries.
Refresher on Medicare Advantage and Part D plans
New to counseling or just want to refresh your memory about the basics of MA and Part D plans? Our education site My Medicare Matters® can help.
- Medicare Advantage basics
- Part D prescription drug plan basics
- Part D drug coverage rules
- Learn about Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans, which are coordinated care plans designed to provide targeted care and limit enrollment to special needs individuals such as those with chronic conditions and dual eligibles.
Looking for something here that you don’t see or need further clarification on an enrollment issue? Email us and let us help you find the answer.