What is an Annual Notice of Change?

Jay JohnsonDear Marci0 Comments

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Dear Marci,

Last year I received an Annual Notice of Change from my Medicare Advantage Plan. Will I get one this year? What should I do with it?

Emmanuel (Springfield, MO)

Dear Emmanuel,

The Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) is an important notice sent each year to people who have a Medicare Advantage (MA) Plan or a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan. Plans send these notices to their members every year to notify them of cost and benefit changes that will take effect starting January 1 of the following year. If you currently have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Part D Prescription Drug Plan, you should receive this notice by September 30 of this year. If you haven’t received it by then, you should contact your plan to ask for it.

The Annual Notice of Change is typically mailed along with the plan’s yearly Evidence of Coverage (EOC) Notice. A plan’s EOC provides a more comprehensive explanation of its costs and coverage in the following year. Remember that plans can make changes every year to costs and benefits, from changing copays to changing which providers and pharmacies are in-network or out-of-network. In reviewing the Annual Notice of Change, make sure that the providers, services, and drugs that you need are still available and covered under your Medicare Advantage or Part D plan. Also, make sure you know and understand how much you will pay out of pocket for your health care services.

If there are changes to your costs and benefits that could raise your costs or get in the way of getting the health care you need, you may want to think about making changes to your Medicare coverage during Fall Open Enrollment. Fall Open Enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7 every year. If you make changes to your Medicare coverage during Fall Open Enrollment this year, they will go into effect on January 1, 2018.

Even if you review these notices and decide that there won’t be any major changes to your Medicare coverage in 2018, it still might be helpful to look at other Medicare options and compare them to your current plan. Another plan in your area might offer health and/or drug coverage at a better price than what you currently pay. To learn more about different Medicare coverage options, call 1-800-MEDICARE or use the online Plan Finder tool at www.medicare.gov/find-a-plan.

-Marci         

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Developed by the Medicare Rights Center, Dear Marci is a biweekly e-newsletter that helps people with Medicare, their families, and caregivers understand Medicare benefits and options. Each issue features Medicare coverage advice, basic health tips and links to vital health care resources. Sign up today for the next issue.

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