Residents who once received their health care, along with prescription drug coverage, through the Medicare Advantage Plan have extra time for replacing that prescription drug coverage.

Those whose Medicare Advantage Plans with United Health Care reverted to traditional Medicare coverage on Jan. 1, 2019, have until the end of April to either replace their drug plan coverage or add MediGap, supplemental Medicare insurance, according to Helen DuVernay, local counselor with the Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP).

According to DuVernay, those who were covered by a Medicare Advantage Plan with United Health Care had a cream-colored plastic card with "PFFS" on the lower right.

Former Medicare Advantage Plan names were MedicareDirectEssential, which didn't include drug coverage, and MedicareDirectRx, which included prescription coverage, according to DuVernay.

Those with United Health Care had until Feb. 28 to replace their drug plan coverage or add supplemental medicare insurance, but California law extended that guaranteed enrollment deadline to the end of April.

"Guaranteed enrollment means that you cannot be turned down, and no health history is required for enrollment," DuVernay said in a written statement.

For those who still need a drug plan, the next opportunity to enroll will be from Oct. 15-Dec. 7 for a Part D plan effective 2020, according to HICAP.

For more information about HICAP and Medicare Advantage Plans, call (707) 464-7876 or email hduvernay@a1aa.org .

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