Senior Life Matters

Question: I got a letter from WellCare, saying welcome to their plan, but I didn’t change my drug coverage. Why did I get this letter? Did my plan change?

Question: I got a letter from WellCare, saying welcome to their plan, but I didn’t change my drug coverage. Why did I get this letter? Did my plan change?

Answer: I have heard this type of concern from a number of individuals. I also have talked with the person who trains me on Medicare related issues. This relates to the bigger issue for everyone as we head into the Annual Open Enrollment. This is the time of year when we hear from our current insurance company about how they will change their insurance product for the New Year, 2020.

To get back to your particular situation, over the past year the WellCare company has purchased the 3 Aetna Stand Alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDP’s). This means that the three, of the 23 PDP’s, we have in New York State will be changing from Aetna owned plans to WellCare owned plans. This ownership change will probably include a name change. It may also include other changes as well. Where your bill is mailed when you pay it. If you have an EFT set up to pay the premium, that EFT will need to be changed also.

In the coming days everyone with Medicare and the additional insurance products will be receiving a lot of information, in the mail, in your email, over the phone, and on TV. This Annual Open Enrollment Period is the time when all the plans announce their coverage for 2020 and you as a Medicare covered individual can make a new choice for your prescription drug coverage and your other insurance as well.

In your mailbox, you will receive a letter by October 1stdescribing the plan you are enrolled in and how it is changing for the New Year, 2020. It usually illustrates what you currently pay, and what the new premium will be. It will talk about your deductible, if your plan has one, and the different costs for the Tiers of medication. This is usually done in a side by side chart, showing current year vs new year. This gives you very useful information for what your plan will be doing for you in 2020. You can use the information and begin to decide if you want to stay with that company.

To help define what I am talking about; the premium – what you pay the company each month; co-pays- what you pay the pharmacy; formulary- what medications they cover and how they are divided into tiers; and what the copays are for each tier.

Going back to the Aetna becoming WellCare. You can review the material they send to you and decide to stay in the plan with the new name. You can also use the Annual Open Enrollment to look at all the options available and find the best possible plan for 2020. You can get information about the plans available to you on, or calling 1-800-medicare (1-800-633-4227). The information about all the plans available in 2020, is available to everyone on 10-1-19. The Annual Open Enrollment Period is from 10-15 to 12-7. So as of the first of October you can begin to research your options and then you have 53 days to actually make your decision and enroll in the plan you choose. That new coverage will begin 1-1-20.

If you decide to stay with the plan you are in, you don’t have much to do. Watch for the new material, be aware of the new premiums and co-pays, and relax as you head into 2020.

For those of you with the Aetna PDP plans, be aware you will receive letters now from WellCare. Be aware you will get new cards to show to your pharmacy for 2020. Your Aetna cards will continue to work for all of 2019. So don’t change anything now, the change will all be for 2020. You will also need to change where you mail your payment, and if you use an automatic payment to pay this premium, you definitely need to change that.

We will know MORE on October 1st! I know I can’t wait!

To contact Janell Sluga, GCMC with questions or concerns, please call 716-720-9797 or e-mail her at