Important Reminder: Medicare Part D annual open enrollment is coming soon, time to review your plan

October 06, 2014

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recommend that everyone enrolled in a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Insurance Plan review their insurance each fall to make certain their drug insurance for the following calendar year will cover their prescriptions.

Even if your medicines don't change, a plan that's right for you one year may not be your best plan the next year because of changes in Medicare prescription drug plan premiums and coverages.

During the Annual Open Enrollment, October 15, 2014 - December 7, 2014, you can shop and switch into a new Medicare prescription drug plan. Your new plan will take effect on January 1, 2015, as long as the plan gets your request by December 7. There is no fee or penalty for changing plans, but after the December 7 deadline, you'll have to wait a full year for the next open enrollment to switch plans.

Use the free Medicare Part D information services 
One way to evaluate the various plans is to use the computer program provided by Medicare at

If you prefer to talk with a person, you may get free assistance on how to compare the various options by using the Transamerica Part D Advisor program. While you can choose from multiple plans and carriers, Transamerica offers this free service as a convenience. You can reach the Transamerica experts at 1-800-235-9922, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. They will provide participating plan comparisons and rates to help you decide on the plan that fits your specific situation.

Special circumstances 
Once enrolled in a Medicare prescription drug plan you generally must stay enrolled for the calendar year. However, in certain circumstances you may be able to join, switch or drop your plan mid-year. Examples include:

  • If you move out of your plan's service area
  • If you lose other creditable prescription drug coverage
  • If you live in an institution, e.g., a nursing home

Turning 65? 
If you are first entering Medicare, you have a seven-month window to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan. For example, if you are entering Medicare at age 65, the window consists of the three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your 65th birthday, and the three months after your 65th birthday.

Late penalty 
If you do not enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when you are first eligible, you will have to pay a penalty when you do enroll. The late enrollment penalty is a percentage attached to the premiums of each Part D plan you enroll in thereafter. Also, if asked by your plan about other drug coverage you have had, be sure to provide a complete disclosure. Failure to tell the plan about your creditable prescription drug coverage can also cause you to pay a penalty.

Source: "Medicare and You 2014," Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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