Alabama Medicare Advantage Plans – 2014 Changes

Alabama Medicare Advantage Plans - 2014 ChangesAlabama Medicare Advantage plan changes for 2014 have big effect

Medicare Advantage plans by their very nature encounter change annually. Advantage plans are annual plans, or as some would say, are good for one year.

How will Alabama Medicare Advantage plan changes for 2014 effect you? Individual plans will have varying degrees of change, but some changes will be more universally felt.


Why this lack of choice?

If you reside in a more rural area of Alabama, you may find that the number of Medicare Advantage plans to choose from has been drastically reduced. This is most likely due to legislation that was previously passed having an impact on Private-Fee-for-Service Plans.

Medicare Private Fee-For-Service Advantage plans seemed to be plentiful up until 2011 in Alabama. Legislation was passed that required carriers to give private fee-for-service members access to network providers if there were at least two other network-based plans in that same service area. A Medicare Advantage service area is defined as a County.

Private fee-for-service plans were traditionally the type of Advantage plan that did not require the use of network providers, but rather, members can utilize any provider that accepts the plans payment terms and conditions. The providers can also accept the plan on a visit-by-visit basis.

Several insurance companies have decided not to renew their private fee-for-service Advantage plans for 2014 in Alabama. For those people who are unable to renew their Medicare Advantage plan, this means a significant change, as they will need to compare Alabama Medicare Advantage plans to find something suitable. For those  that are shopping for an Advantage plan, it means a lot less choice. Secure Horizons Medicare Direct was one prominent plan to leave the market, as did several others.


What happened to the Open Enrollment Period?

If you are considering enrolling in an Alabama Medicare Advantage plan you now have a shortened time-frame for enrollment because the Open Enrollment Period has been eliminated. Unless you are becoming eligible for Medicare or have a Special Enrollment Period, you must make your choice during the Annual Enrollment Period, which begins October 15 and ends December 7.

The Open Enrollment Period which ran from January 1 through March 31 was a time allowed to make like-to-like plan switches, with drug coverage being the determining factor. Since this has been eliminated, there is a new Dis-enrollment Period for people who enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and would like to dis-enroll and return to original Medicare. This Dis-enrollment Period will begin January 1 and end February 14. Those people who take advantage of this, will return to original Medicare and will have the opportunity to purchase a stand-alone Part D plan. They can also apply for a Medicare supplement if they wish.

This legislation amounts to Alabama Medicare Advantage plans having some significant changes. With the shortened time-frame for enrollment, it’s more important than ever to choose wisely. Prospective Advantage plan members should take this opportunity to compare several plans to ensure that they get the best Medicare Advantage plan for 2014.

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Comments

I am trying to find a phone number so I can call and get
you to send us info on your Medicare Advantage Plan for 2011. If you can, please send us this info as soon as possible. We are trying to make up our minds which way to
go, stay with the plan from last year or get another one.
Thanks

Doris, It’s good that you are comparing 2011 Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama. this site offers commentary on Medicare Advantage plans in Alabama for 2011 and is not owned or operated by an insurance company offering Medicare plans in Alabama. Visit http://www.medicare.gov to search for available Advantage plans and Part D plans in your area. Sorry I’m not more of a help.
David

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