October 11, 2017
with Dropped Plans Have Options
Departments Medicare Assistance Program Offers Free Counseling
The Oklahoma Insurance Departments Medicare Assistance
Program (MAP) can help beneficiaries whose current Medicare Advantage
plans wont be available in 2018. Thousands of Oklahomans
on Medicare received the cancellation notices this week. The Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) determined their existing
plans could not be offered in some counties because those plans
were unable to meet the network adequacy standards established
by CMS for provider access in those areas. These standards were
established to assure that Medicare Advantage plan enrollees have
adequate access to critical providers within an established distance
from their locations.
important that beneficiaries take action before Dec. 31, 2017
to ensure they have coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2018, said
Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. We want affected
consumers to carefully read the letter received from their carrier
and take action to ensure there is no lapse in health and prescription
must choose a new plan before Dec. 31 to ensure they have health
and/or prescription drug coverage on Jan. 1, 2018. Those who do
not choose a new plan will be placed on original Medicare and
lose prescription drug coverage. Affected consumers have two options:
1.Choose one of the other Medicare Advantage plans available in
their county that provides both health and prescription drug coverage.
2.Switch to original Medicare and add a Part D prescription drug
plan. The consumer may also want to consider a Medicare supplement
plan to fill in the gaps in original Medicare. Because these beneficiaries
are being terminated against their wishes, this creates a special
enrollment period during which they can purchase a Medicare supplement
policy without the risk of being denied or charged a higher premium
due to a current or pre-existing condition. This opportunity lasts
63 days from the date of plan termination.
Also, if the
beneficiary was enrolled in CommunityCare as part of their health
coverage provided to retirees through their former employers,
those individuals should contact their respective employers to
find out what arrangements are being made for replacement coverage.
affected by the loss of their existing policy have until Feb.
28 to choose a new one, open enrollment for all Medicare beneficiaries
runs Oct. 15-Dec. 7. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries
can review their current medical and prescription drug coverage,
as well as exploring new options that could provide them with
better coverage at a reduced cost. Oklahomans on Medicare are
encouraged to call MAP counselors to review their options.
goal is to help Medicare beneficiaries get the right coverage
at the right price for their specific medical needs, Doak
said. This is a personalized approach that arms each person
with the knowledge they need to make the right choice about their
can help beneficiaries understand Medicare benefits and the enrollment
process. Last year, they saved clients an average of $2,000 by
reviewing their current medications and identifying drug plans
that provided the best coverage at the lowest cost.
made during Medicare Open Enrollment will go into effect on Jan.
1. Consumers can call MAP at 800-763-2828 to ask questions or
schedule an appointment to review their coverage. MAP partners
with other agencies to offer this assistance throughout the state.
A list of partner agencies is available at oid.ok.gov.
Oklahoma Insurance Department
The Oklahoma Insurance Department, an agency of the State of Oklahoma,
is responsible for the education and protection of the insurance-buying
public and for oversight of the insurance industry in the state.