Did you know that most people can only change Medicare plans during certain times of the year? This rule helps protect healthcare providers, and it’s what makes the annual enrollment period so important for you.
What is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
There are three types of medicare enrollment periods you should know about.
- Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This is your first enrollment period. It begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after. For example, if you’re birthday is March 1st, you’re initial enrollment period would be from December 1st (3 months before) through June 1st (three months after). Once you have enrolled into Medicare during your initial enrollment period, you can review your plans every year during the annual enrollment period which is listed below.
- Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). AEP occurs from October 15th through December 7th of each year. This is when you have the ability to review and change your existing Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Part D Plan.
- Special Enrollment Period (SEP). This requires special circumstances which allows qualifying individuals to change their Medicare plan outside of the defined enrollment periods throughout the year.
What Changes Can I Make During Medicare AEP?
If you decide to change Medicare plans during Medicare AEP, your agent can help you:
- Switch from Original Medicare (hospital and doctor coverage only) to a Medicare Advantage plan (drug coverage, dental coverage, and more)
- Switch between Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplements (more financial coverage)
- Switch into a new Medicare Advantage plan
- Add prescription drug coverage
- And more!
Why Change Medicare Plans During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
You may not need to do anything during AEP. However, major insurance carriers usually change the benefits that they offer every year to improve benefits and save money. It’s possible that a change in your plan benefits or your provider network will change how you feel about your plan. It’s a good idea to speak with an agent even if you don’t think you want to change your plan. A licensed agent can tell you about all the changes to your current plan and help you decide whether or not it’s time to change Medicare plans.
Additionally, you can use Medicare annual enrollment to switch from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Supplement (Medigap) or from Medigap to Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage and Medigap are similar in some ways but far different in others.
Why Change Medicare Plans?
While Medicare Advantage limits your doctor network, Medigap gives you access to any doctor that accepts Medicare. While Medicare Advantage includes other benefits like dental, vision, hearing, and prescription drug coverage, Medigap provides coverage for copayments, deductibles, and coinsurance. That means that while Medicare Advantage plans generally cover more benefits, Medigap can be the cheaper option. Consider which of these benefits matters most to you before deciding if you should make the switch.
How to Switch Plans During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
The best way to switch plans is by speaking with an agent. A licensed Medicare Plan Finder agent can help you make sure that you don’t lose access to your favorite doctors or pharmacies and that you don’t lose any important benefits that you like. To get started, click here to request a Medicare appointment.
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
Now that you know what Medicare AEP is, don’t forget: The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs from October 15 through December 7 of every year. During that time, you can switch plans or add additional coverage.
Even if you think you are happy with your Medicare plan, it may be a good idea to review your coverage every fall anyway. Private Medicare plans are allowed to change costs, coverage, and networks at any time, so you should make sure that your plan is still the best option for you. If not, you can only change Medicare plans during the medicare AEP.
Ready to Change Medicare Plans?
Changing Medicare plans is a big decision. With such a limited time to make changes, the task to pick the best plan can seem daunting. That’s why we’re here. We can send a licensed agent out to your home (at no cost) to help you pick the best plan from the best carrier to fit your needs.
If you’re interested in reviewing your options, start by determining your health care needs. Do you have prescription drugs that your current plan does not cover? Have you recently developed a new illness or disability that requires different coverage? What about your financial needs? Can you suddenly afford more coverage, or do you now qualify for savings? Ask yourself these questions in early fall. We can help answer your questions so you can decide whether or not you need to change Medicare plans during AEP.
Interested? To set up your free appointment, call 1-844-431-1832.