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Four things to know about Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP), also known as open enrollment, happens every year from October 15 to December 7. Here are four things to consider about this Annual Election Period. After you read this give us a call with your questions.

1) Medicare Open Enrollment is for Switching Plans
Medicare Annual Election Period Open Enrollment is the one time, each year, you can switch your Medicare Advantage and Prescription Part D Drug plans without going through any medical underwriting. This means that if you don’t like your current plan you can switch to another plan and they have to accept you.

You should compare the cost and coverage of your current Medicare Advantage plan and Part D plans to see if they meet your needs. By the way, if you provide us with a list of your current drugs, one of our licensed agents can compare all the drug plans in your area.

2) Open Enrollment is Different than Initial Enrollment
Medicare’s initial enrollment period is when you first sign up for Medicare and Supplemental coverage. Unless you postpone Medicare Part B, initial enrollment is usually three months before and after you turn 65.

If you miss Medicare’s initial enrollment deadline, you can use the Annual Election Period to enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Part D drug plan.

3) Open Enrollment Starts October 15th
Medicare’s Annual Election Period is from October 15 to December 7, for a January 1 start date. If you miss this date you must stay with the same plan for another year.

4) Medicare Supplement Does Not Have Open Enrollment
Many people believe that they can switch their Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan during Open Enrollment without a medical review. Medigap has a guaranteed enrollment period of 6 months, which usually begins on the first of the month you turn 65 and are first eligible for Medicare Part B. If you apply for Medigap during AEP you may be subject to medical underwriting.

People also use open enrollment to leave Medicare Advantage and sign up for Medicare Supplement and a different Prescription Part D drug plan for the first time. Contact us and we can show you how this is done.

Next Steps
Before and during Medicare’s Open Enrollment period you’ll want to research your current health plan’s changes and compare it to other health plans in your area to decide which is best for you. If you decide your current plan meets your needs you don’t need to do anything. If you are not happy with your plan or just want to compare what else is available to you, then give us a call.