The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), also known as Open Enrollment, will be here before you know it. Every year between October 15 and December 7th, Medicare offers beneficiaries an opportunity to change Medicare Advantage plans for the following year.
With so many TV advertisements, billboards, radio advertisements, and mailers, annual enrollment can get VERY confusing! Here are some good tips to make this year’s open enrollment or Annual election period (AEP) go smoothly:
- First, know what type of plan you have! Do you have a Medigap or an Advantage plan? Has your current plan been working well for you? If you are happy you do not need to do anything! You can continue with your current plan without a need to re-enroll.
- Second, watch for your Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) which will arrive from your current insurance company sometime in September. It is important to read this carefully as you will be able to look at your insurance benefits for 2020 side by side with your 2021 benefits. You can look at your max out of pocket, your co-pays, co-insurance, and premiums side by side so you will know if the 2021 benefits will continue to meet your needs or not.
- Third start early! December 7this a hard date- there are NO exceptions, so if you wait until December 6th or 7th, and there are any issues your policy may not go through. Start early so you can make a solid decision and not rush into anything.
If you are a Medicare beneficiary, you may change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. Some points to consider:
- Changes can be done regardless of whether the plan offers prescription drugs or not.
- You may also change from one prescription drug plan to another.
- You can also change from a prescription drug plan to a Medicare Advantage plan with or without prescription drugs.
- Changing a Medigap / Medicare supplement and going to an Advantage plan, or from an Advantage plan to a Medigap / supplement plan with a standalone prescription drug plan is allowed. (keep in mind you may have to go through underwriting)
- A prescription drug plan can only be purchased or changed during open enrollment or during a special election period.
- A Medicare supplement / Medigap plan can be purchased any time during the year.
Lastly, if you have a standalone prescription drug plan, it is highly recommended to analyze your plan every year. This is because premiums and formularies change. Your prescriptions and needs could have also changed throughout the past year.
If you feel comfortable with using a computer and being on the Internet, you can go to medicare.gov and run your prescriptions there. You can look as a guest or create a mymedicare.gov account. If you aren’t comfortable with using the Internet, you call Medicare. They will get all your prescriptions and assist you. If you have an agent that you work with, you can call them or feel free to call us!
Hopefully, this advice will help your election period this year go smoothly and stress-free!
*Medicare Insurance Specialty Group is Not Approved By, Endorsed By, or Affiliated With A Government Agency.