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Medicare Annual Notice Of Change – Don’t Ignore It

The Medicare Annual Notice of Change is the most important communicationAct now button

When you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D plan it seems like the mail from your plan sponsor will never end. But there is one communication that is vitally important. The Annual Notice of Change is your first step in deciding whether or not you should keep your current plan for the following year or if it will even be available.

Both Medicare Advantage plans and Part D plans are annual in nature and your current plan ceases on December 31st. This is in contrast to a Medicare supplement policies otherwise known as Medigap which are guaranteed renewable as long as you pay your monthly premium.

This article will address why you need to pay special attention to the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) as well as a review of the components contained in this important mailing. Ignoring this important information could mean that you will be enrolled in a plan that may not be the best fit for your circumstances or that you could find yourself without coverage on January 1st.

Why the Annual Notice of Change is required

As previously mentioned, Advantage plans and Medicare Part D plans are in effect for one calendar year. On December 31st your plan will end. It is only fair that you receive advance notice of any changes to your plan. Insurance companies that are approved to offer these plans can take several courses of action for the following . They can:

  • Renew the plan without substantial changes.
  • Renew the plan and make changes to any or a combination of the benefits, premiums and cost sharing amounts.
  • Choose not renew a plan for certain service areas (your ANOC will be service area specific).

The ANOC is required per CMS regulations and will arrive in September. The changes referenced will become effective January 1st.

Reviewing the information contained in this mailing will eliminate any surprises and allow you to make an informed decision as to whether or not you need to compare other Medicare.

Learn About the Special Enrollment Period for Non-renewing Plans

Medicare Annual Notice of Change contents

Included in your 2017 Annual Notice of Change will be all the documentation required for you to evaluate how your current plan will be effected. The following documents are included:

  • A summary of copays and coinsurance. This will compare costs against your current plan if you were enrolled in 2016.
  • Updates to plan benefits as well as changes to premiums.
  • Summary of Benefits (Advantage plans).
  • Part D formulary (Part D and MAPD plans).
  • Evidence of Coverage.


Just as is the case when you compare one plan to another, do not stop your research after you have reviewed the summary of changes. Take some time to delve into the Summary of Benefits if you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. This is where you may find the devil in the details. The same is true if you are looking at changes to a Medicare drug plan, review the plan formulary not only to be sure that your medications are still included but also that they haven’t been place in a higher more costly tier.

Find All Plans in Your Area with These Tips on Navigating the medicare.gov Website

Looking out for your ANOC and following these tips will ensure that you are on the right step to enrolling or renewing the best Medicare Advantage plan for your circumstances.

7 comments

  1. I have not received any information about the AARP Medicare Secure Horizon Plan and it is almost October; what is holding up this information to changes: United Healthcare?????

  2. Ann, Yes it is up to UnitedHealthCare to mail you the Annual Notice Of Change notice. It may be worth a quick call to member services just to be on the safe side.

  3. What is the deadline for insurers to send out the annual notice? Wasn’t it September 30?

  4. Chaz, I believe it was October 2nd.

  5. Very happy with Well Care that I have

  6. It is now 2014, I have not rec’d any notice of change to my medicare. How do I find out what has changed and where I stand with medicare and drug prescription coverage?

  7. Foster, The Annual Notice of Change is mailed to members of Medicare Advantage and Part D plans each September. You should contact your plan to get a Summary of Benefits booklet. That said, the time to find out what has changed with your plan (and compare that to other plans) is during the Annual Election period (10/15 through 12/7). If you have a medicare Advantage Plan and changes to your plan are not favorable, you can take advantage of the Annual Dis-enrollment Period. Learn more about it Here.

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