Yes... we are approaching that time of the year again. All the TV ads and mail can be very confusing and make you think that you need to be doing something. We are here to help simplify the process and explain the Annual Election Period. Below are the answers to some of the common questions we receive.
When’s the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?
Every year, Medicare’s open enrollment period is October 15 - December 7. It is when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs. Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks.
How do people know if they need to change plans?
People in a Medicare health or prescription drug plan should always review the materials their plans send them, like the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). If their plans are changing, they should make sure their plans will still meet their needs for the following year. If they’re satisfied that their current plans will meet their needs for next year and it’s still being offered, they don’t need to do anything.
What are some reasons for Changing Your Plan?
Some of the more common reasons are listed below
You don’t like the plan changes coming up for the next year
Your monthly plan premium is going up
You have learned that one of your doctors will no longer be in the network
The plan is dropping one of your important medications for next year
You want the more comprehensive coverage provided by a Medicare supplement plan
Can You Change Your Medigap Plan During the AEP?
Your Medigap plan does not change benefits from year to year like Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans do. So the only reason people usually want to change their Medigap plan is if there has been a premium increase. It’s important to know that you can change your Medigap plan any time of year but in most states this will require health questions and underwriting. Never disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan until you have first applied for and been approved by the new Medigap carrier. Once they notify you of acceptance, then you can disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare as well as add a standalone Part D drug plan. Many of our clients use the Annual Election Period to change their Part D drug plans. Prescriptions and plans change from year to year. It's good practice to shop plans each year to make sure you are enrolled in the best one for your needs.
Do you have to enroll each year for Medicare?
No, you only enroll in Original Medicare once. The Annual Enrollment Period is for changing Part C (Medicare Advantage) or Part D plans only.
What is the deadline for Medicare enrollment?
The deadline for changing your Part C or D plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is December 7th. Your new plan will start on January 1 of the following year.
Do you have to renew your Medicare supplement every year?
No you do not. Your Medicare supplement is guaranteed renewable every year and will stay in force unless you cancel your policy or fail to pay your premiums.
Are there any penalties if I fail to do anything during the Annual Enrollment period?
Definitely not. The Medicare AEP is an option so that you can always change plans if it benefits you. If you do nothing, your current plan will continue as is.
We are here to help...
We know this can still feel overwhelming and something you'd rather not deal with. This is where an experienced Health Insurance Agent can help. Our team will prepare your options and help you make the right the decision. We take care of your enrollment into new plans and continue to assist you with your plan during the year whenever you need assistance. Need help with evaluating your options? Contact us below at: