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Most Medicare beneficiaries like the health plan they’re on, but with attractive and competitive benefits every year, some will change.
If you switch plans, here are some helpful tips:
Make sure you have your new identification card by January 1st.
If you signed up for a new health plan during the Annual Election Period (AEP), Oct 15th - Dec 7th, you should have your new health plan identification card by January 1 of the following year. If you don’t, call your insurance company and ask when it will be mailed to you.
Is the new card really yours? Check the information on the card.
Health plan cards do not look the same. The card should have enough information that lets you know it’s yours. Call your health plan if you seem to be missing any of the following on the card:
• Right name — Is your name on the card? Is your name spelled correctly?
• Right doctor — Is the doctor and/or medical group you signed up with on the card?
• Right health plan — Is the name of the plan on the card?
Let your doctor know when you change health plans.
Even if you’re not scheduled to visit anytime soon, let your doctor know when you change health plans. If you’re in the middle of treatment, scheduled for a procedure or surgery, or need special supplies (e.g., oxygen) from your doctor, he/she will appreciate knowing about the change. This helps ensure continuity in your care plan.
Check with your doctor about keeping a 30 day supply of medicine between plan changes.
Speak to your doctor about your current supply of medicine, especially if you take daily prescriptions. It’s probably what you do when you take a short trip — talk with your doctor to make sure you have enough medication on hand, just in case.
When you visit your doctor, pharmacist or anyone else who provides care, show your Medi-Cal card if you have one.
If you signed up with a Medicare Advantage plan and have Medi-Cal, it’s best to show your blue and white State of California Medi-Cal card with your new health plan card. Showing all cards may better clarify your health plan benefit for the provider of your care. Sometimes plan benefits are slightly different for those on Medi-Cal.