October 1, 2018: Plans begin marketing their Part D prescription drug benefits for 2019.
By October 2, 2018: Plan termination notices are sent. If your prescription drug plan is being terminated, you will receive a letter notifying you that you will have to choose a new plan for 2019.
By October 15, 2018: You will be able to find and compare plans online at www.medicare.gov or by calling 1-800-MEDICARE
October 15, 2018: The official open enrollment period for Medicare Part D begins. You will be able to enroll in a Part D plan, drop your Part D coverage, or switch to a different Part D plan. If you want to remain in your current prescription drug plan, you do not have to do anything during the open enrollment period. Your prescription drug coverage will continue with its new benefit and cost design for 2019. If you are thinking of dropping your coverage, be sure to check on the enrollment penalties that would apply if you decide to reenroll later. It is important to reevaluate your plan for changes. A recent National Committee survey of our members found that only 13 percent changed either their Medicare Advantage or Part D in 2017. But changes to your health or changes plans make to their prescription drug formulary (the list of drugs your plan covers) may mean that you can get a better deal by shopping around.
Late October, 2018: If you currently receive Part D Extra Help and are automatically reassigned to a new prescription drug plan, you will receive a blue letter from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Beneficiaries who are receiving Extra Help for their drug costs will only be reassigned to a new plan if they are enrolled in a plan that is terminating in 2019, if their plan’s premium is increasing above the regional benchmark threshold amount or if the plan is changing from a standard plan to an enhanced plan. As with all official notices from CMS or your drug plan, it is important to save this notice in your records.
December 7, 2018: The annual open enrollment period for Medicare Part D drug plans ends. This period is officially called the Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP).
December 8, 2018: The Special Enrollment Period to enroll in a 5-star plan begins. (Quality ratings are available on Medicare.gov)
January 1, 2019 Part D coverage for the new 2019 plan year begins.