What is a Medicare Annual Notice of Change (ANOC)?
An Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) is a document Medicare plans distribute annually to keep plan members informed of changes due to take effect in the coming year. Medicare plans include Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs).
A Medicare Advantage plan delivers your Part A and Part B benefits as an alternative to getting these benefits through Original Medicare. Many of these plans cover prescription drug benefits as well as additional benefits that may include vision, dental and hearing care.
Unlike Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap), which is standardized and remains unchanged from year to year, Medicare Advantage plans can make changes annually.
Annual Notice of Change
Your Medicare plan is required to mail you a printed copy of the Annual Notice of Change by September 30. It must include any changes to benefits, service areas, and member costs that will take effect on January 1.
The timing of the ANOC distribution gives plan members two weeks to review it before the Annual Election Period starts on October 15. It is important to read the ANOC carefully to see how changes impact you. If benefits or costs no longer align with your health care needs or budget, or if the plan is terminating service in your area, you can start exploring other plan options.
Suggested questions to ask yourself as you go through the ANOC:
- Do the changes impact the healthcare services I use?
- Are the medications I take still covered?
- Have my prescription drugs been moved up to a tier with higher cost sharing?
- Are my doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies still in the network?
- Are the premiums, deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments still affordable?
Annual Election Period (AEP)
- October 15 – December 7
- Can join, change or drop a Medicare Advantage or Medicare drug plan
- Can drop Original Medicare and enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan
- Can drop your MA plan and revert to Original Medicare
- New coverage begins January 1
- Will be automatically disenrolled from current plan when enrolling in a different plan before December 7
Evidence of Coverage (EOC)
In addition to the ANOC, your Medicare plan must provide Evidence of Coverage. The EOC is a separate document that delineates your plan’s coverage and costs in greater detail. Your insurer must mail you, by October 15, either a printed version of the EOC or instructions on how to access the document electronically. This is a helpful reference for plan information throughout the year.
If you do not receive your ANOC by September 30, or if you have questions about the changes, reach out to your plan’s Member Services team without delay. Typically, if you do not make a change during AEP, your current plan will automatically carry over into the next year.
If you are thinking about changing plans, you can explore options available in your area easily by using online plan comparison tools. Costs and benefits can vary between plans, so take the time during AEP to find the one that’s right for you.
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