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If you have Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, you don’t need to reapply every year. However, each year during the Annual Election Period (October 15 through December 7) you might want to consider whether you would benefit from enrolling in or changing a Medicare Advantage plan and/or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. These plans offered through private insurance companies may give you benefits you seek with affordable out-of-pocket costs.
If you’re already enrolled in Medicare Advantage and/or Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, you’ll want to be aware of the following.
Each year, Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Plan Sponsors renew their contracts with Medicare by submitting the new year’s plan design, including benefits and cost sharing, to Medicare for review and approval. If the proposed changes to your existing plan are approved by Medicare, then your Medicare Advantage/Prescription Drug plan membership should renew automatically, as long as you continue to pay your monthly premiums for your plan (if applicable) and your Medicare Part B. If your plan leaves Medicare, you’ll get a Plan Non-Renewal Notice in the mail, letting you know you’ll need to find a new plan for the coming year. You should receive this notice by October of the current year for any plan not being renewed in the next year.
In any case, it can be a good idea to review your Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage annually and compare it to other available plans in your area. Medicare Advantage plans can change benefits and costs from year to year. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan or a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, your plan may make changes to its drug list (formulary) that affect what you pay for prescription medications. As your health needs change each year, you may decide you want more or less comprehensive coverage than your current plan provides.