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Saturday, Oct 25, 2014
Letter of the Day

Navigating the Medicare maze

Published:

There is not much being written concerning the problems seniors are having with Medicare Advantage Plans. I would like to share my recent dealings, hoping it will enlighten others so they will not have these problems. After numerous changes of physicians by my Medicare Advantage Plan (MAP) over a three-year period, the last change of physicians was the final straw.

One must enroll in a plan from Oct. 15 until Dec. 7 annually. We complied. Shortly after Jan. 1, we received new insurance cards with another physician’s name on them. We called the physicians we had for 2013 and were told their contracts were canceled on Feb. 28. We then found we could not change to another MAP until the new enrollment period in October 2014. Our only choice would be to unenroll from the current MAP and go back to original Medicare, But we had to do this by Feb. 14.

We called the insurance carrier, which said we must send a letter to them opting out. We called the insurance carrier a week later, and they said the letters were received. We did not receive the letter that we were back on Medicare until Feb. 15. We then proceeded to enroll in a Medigap Supplement Plan as well as the Medicare Part D Drug Plan.

Here is the shocker: We were told by Medicare that since we did not enroll in the Part D Drug Plan by or before Feb. 14, we could not reapply until Oct. 15 and would be charged a 1 percent penalty per month until we could apply in October. When we advised that we did not receive the letter from the insurance carrier until after that date, she could only apologize.

If we had simply applied for the Part D program, we would have been dropped from the MAP automatically. We would not have had to send a letter to the insurance carrier. As important and simple as that would have been, would one not think that information would have been prominently displayed somewhere? But no; we only found out inquiring about a Medigap policy. So we get to pay a penalty for eight months! It would be nice to alert seniors who are having these problems that they will not receive guidance from the MAP they have and will have to really dig on the Internet for it.

Donald Leggett Sr.

Tampa

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