On September 15, 2011, CMS announced the Part D and Medicare Advantage plans for 2012.
CMS announced them earlier than usual because the ANNUAL OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD for 2012 is earlier this year .
it will start October 15, 2011 and continue through December 7, 2011. In the past, the enrollment period was from Nov. 15 - Dec. 31st for the following year. If you don't enroll in or change Part D plans by December 7th, you may not be able to change plans or enroll in Part D for the first time until 2013 -- unless you are eligible for a "Special Enrollment Period" (SEP).
Selecting the best drug plan for 2012 is even more important for EPIC members -- since EPIC coverage is being cut back significantly in 2012. In addition to the usual factors -- finding the plan that covers as many of your prescriptions as possible without "utilization controls" such as quantity limits, EPIC members may:
want to find a plan with no annual deductible
not need to be concerned with finding a plan with coverage during the doughnut hole/coverage gap -- since EPIC will cover drugs during this period. In fact that is ALL EPIC will cover, aside from paying the premium for the lower income EPIC members. Read more about the EPIC changes here and here. And learn strategies to help clients cope with these changes here.