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Medicare Part D issue

When, at 65, I did not initially sign up for a Part D plan.  About 6-9 mos later I decided to have a Part D plan in case I really needed it.  I went with the Humana Walmart plan knowing I would be penalized on the premium for not going with it initially.  My starting rate was $18+ per month.  Over the next 3 years my plan went up to $55.30!  Keep in mind that with this great amount of premium increase it should be noted that I never used it even once!  I therefore wanted to go off the plan and either shop around for a new one or go off Part D altogether.  I called them in Oct. ‘20 to cancel it and was told I had to wait till 10/15 for official open enrollment.  I called to cancel on Oct. 15, and this time I was told that it had to be in writing and that they would send me the form or I could mail it to them or fax them the written request.  They never told me with a total of two phone calls that it would need to be in writing, until then.  With the delay in mail with COVID, I faxed them a cancellation request, to be effective immediately, after just paying for the next monthly premium.  They continued to bill me and after I emphasized very politely that I had cancelled the plan, and my autopay, They told me that Medicare still had to be notified by them.  I then searched for new plans and came upon a SilverScripts plan through Aetna that was reasonable.  I called them to see if I would again have a surcharge to my monthly bill if I was not covered for a while.  They happened to be informative and gave me a specific number to call Medicare and ask how this would work.  She told me that if I was uncovered for something like 63 days in a row I would be subjected to a higher monthly rate for Part D.  Just to avoid that, I mailed in a check for one additional month to my old Humana plan, still emphasizing that I had cancelled their plan going forward.  Now, already on the new Aetna Part D plan, I am still getting billed for the last two months of the old Humana plan.  A phone call to them revealed there is nothing they can do.  My question is, am I still obligated to pay the last two months of the old plan I had cancelled?  Despite my cancellation, does the plan remain in effect till the next plan takes over?  Please help.  Also, avoid Humana like the plague!

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Bronze Conversationalist

Medicare is not a DIY project. You could have used someone to guide you through the process. Someone like a knowledgeable agent.

 

The Humana Walmart plan has been a disaster from a consumer perspective. Had you shopped your plan every year you would have discovered that Humana was doubling the premium on your plan they simultaneously introduced a new Walmart co-branded plan at half the premium.

 

Slightly higher copay's on some med's but many will save money overall.

 

Even better, my advice would have been to find another plan that is not tied to Walmart. 

 

As for the run around in dropping your H-W plan, all that you had to do was enroll in a new plan of your choice between Oct 15 and Dec 7. In doing so you are automatically disenrolled from your existing plan as of 12/31 and the new one starts 1/1.

 

You don't have to call or write and cancel. No forms or letter. Just enroll in a new plan and wait on it to drop off.

 

I am no fan of Humana but instead of blaming them it seems you contributed to the problem because you did not understand the way the PDP game is played.


Bark less. Wag more.
Honored Social Butterfly

@xStork 

As a Medicare beneficiary, every year a booklet called "Medicare and You" is issued to you either in booklet form or online.  Medicare and You 2021 Handbook   Everything you have asked about is discussed in the handbook - Section 6 is devoted to Medicare drug coverage (Part D).

 

Much of this is also covered in the plan details that your current insurer sends you.

Once your Initial Enrollment period ( when you 1st qualify for Medicare) is over, plans are generally written and issued for a calendar year January 01 - December 31.  The plan that you opt for during Open Enrollment (October 15 - December 7) each year, whether new or sticking with the current one, are for the policy period of January 01 - December 31.

 

EVERY year during Open Enrollment period beneficiaries can SHOP and change, if they want, their Medicare Part D coverage.  Things change from year to year either on the beneficiary side OR the insurer side.  A beneficiary should always re-evaluate their current plan compared to other new plans offered in their area during this OPEN ENROLLMENT period.  Remember the insurers also change their plans too - what's covered in their formulary, what tiers are assigned to which meds, what pharmacies are covered - from mail order to community, any special qualifications for any meds, the new deductible, co-pays and premiums and more.   Again this open enrollment period is from October 15 - December 7 EVERY YEAR.

 

Outside of these enrollment periods, there is only a SPECIAL ENROLLMENT period - you have to be eligible, meeting certain defined criteria, for this mid-cycle change in plans..

 

The late enrollment penalty that you picked up from being late to the party initially - last forever - it is based on a specific % times the number of months that you were late signing up - and yes, these number of months can be added to if you go over that # of day limit - adding more to the (forever) penalty.

 

You are making lots of mistakes - costly ones - I urge you to get that Medicare and You 2021 Handbook - read it and if you still don't understand it - ALL of it, ALL of Medicare too, then get some local help.

Help can be found in your area or state by contacting an independent MEDICARE insurance broker that writes for many different companies that services your area OR perhaps from your state - SHIP (State Health Insurance Program) volunteers. Medicare.GOV - Contact Info locator 

 

Medicare and all its various parts is a complicated program but just like any other insurance plan, you need to understand it or have somebody to help you work through it.  Medicare is a government program with millions of people on it and thus the government make pretty strict and explicit rules that we all have to follow -

 

Some additional links for you from Medicare.GOV

MEDICARE.GOV - How to drop your Medicare drug plan 

 

MEDICARE.GOV - Part D late enrollment penalty 

 

MEDICARE.GOV - 3 ways to avoid the Part D late enrollment penalty 

More links to Medicare Part D info on the left side of the page

 

ALL of this is covered in the Medicare and You 2021 Handbook.

 

Your Questions:

My question is, am I still obligated to pay the last two months of the old plan I had cancelled? Despite my cancellation, does the plan remain in effect till the next plan takes over?

Sounds like to me that you finished paying for the 12-months of coverage under the Humana Walmart plan with your additional payments to them.  But you may owe them (2) more cause you gave no dates of coverage or premium months. 

Make sure Medicare knows that you have switched plans per instructions as how to advise them.

Same thing on what premium periods you paid on the new plan - the SilverScripts plan through Aetna.   Read your Plan - what's the period of insurance, most likely 01/01 - 12/31

Figure it up by premium period for both.

 

 

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Bronze Conversationalist

Make sure Medicare knows that you have switched plans per instructions as how to advise them.

 

When you enroll in a new drug plan during AEP it is the CARRIERS responsibility to notify Medicare of the new plan.

 

Similar rules if you have an MAPD plan. If you enroll in a new MAPD or a stand alone PDP during AEP you are automatically disenrolled from the in force MAPD as of 12/31.


Bark less. Wag more.
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