Chautauqua County seniors and OFA HIICAP counselors made it through the 2013 Medicare Open Enrollment period. But many of our area seniors are asking what happens now? January is the month when new health care plans take effect, EPIC enrollments are verified and Social Security benefits will increase for 2014. There are still many questions to be answered and adjustments to health insurance that take place during January. So, the OFA HIICAP counselors continue to assist those individuals who missed the Open Enrollment deadline, enrolled in a plan that they are unhappy with or enrolling newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries. So here are a few most frequently asked questions about what happens next.
HOW DOES MY EPIC WORK?
If you are an EPIC member, you should have received your letter from EPIC stating what your annual fee plan or deductable plan will be for 2014. EPIC benefits such as payment of your PART D premium usually take a month (or two) to take effect. Be patient and if you want to make sure that EPIC has your new Part D information, contact the Office for the Aging and we will be happy to check for you! Remember to take your EPIC card to your pharmacy each January to ensure they have your EPIC ID in their system so you get that benefit of lower costs on your medications.
"I MISSED OPEN ENROLLMENT! NOW WHAT?"
There may be a "Special Enrollment Period" (SEP) that you are eligible for that would allow you to enroll in a health care plan outside of the annual Open Enrollment period. You may be eligible for an SEP if you are an EPIC member or you have Extra Help for your prescriptions. If you recently lost your current insurance through an employer, you also may have an SEP that would allow you to enroll into a new plan for 2014.
"WHAT HAPPENS IF I ENROLLED INTO A PLAN I DON'T LIKE?"
There are two answers to this question.
If you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period as mentioned above, then you may change your current insurance to another plan.
If you do not qualify for an SEP, then you must keep the current plan you enrolled in and wait until October for the next Annual Open Enrollment Period.
"IS IT TOO LATE TO ENROLL INTO EPIC?"
As long as you are 65 years old or older and are a resident of New York state, you may enroll in EPIC at any time of the year if you meet the income eligibility requirements. For an application and assistance, contact the Office for the Aging.
Not sure if you qualify for an SEP? Call the Office for the Aging at one of our three locations and we will help determine what you are eligible for and assist you with the steps necessary to make your health care the best it can be for your health needs.