Last month, Michael Crochunis (Acting Director: Medicare Enrollment & Appeals Group) released a memo to Medicare Advantage Organizations establishing a Special Election Period (SEP) for beneficiaries to enroll in 5-star Medicare Advantage Plans during the 2012 plan year. Here is a link to the CMS memo.
Basically, this will allow Medicare beneficiaries to enroll into a 5-Star Medicare Advantage plan (during any month of the year) by using an SEP. Below are the eligibility requirements:
Who will be eligible for this SEP?
- Beneficiaries enrolled in MA plans with a star rating of 4.5 or less
- Beneficiaries who are enrolled in Original Medicare and meet the eligibility requirements for Medicare Advantage
CMS is using this new SEP as an incentive for more plans to achieve the 5-Star level. Earlier this year, a Kaiser Family Foundation report found only a small percentage of Medicare Advantage Plans had reached the 5-Start level. Here is link to a previous blog post that includes CMS Star ratings for each company.
Hopefully, we will see additional 5-Star Medicare Advantage plans for 2012. If so, insurance agents will be able to sell high quality Medicare Advantage plans year round.
And that is great news!