Medicare Open Enrollment is October 15-December 7

Current Medicare enrollees know when the open enrollment period is since it gives them a chance to see what new plans are on the market. If you don’t know when Open Enrollment Period is, let’s look at the dates and what you can do during that time.  Open Enrollment is the time of year when you can change your Medicare coverage. You can do this by joining a new Medicare Advantage Plan or by joining a new stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP). You can also switch to Original Medicare with or without a stand-alone Part D plan from a Medicare Advantage Plan during this time. Listed below are the top five things to keep in mind while you are deciding on your Medicare coverage.

1. Open Enrollment Occurs from October 15 to December 7 of every year

Learn more about what Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D (PDP) Plans are available in  Southwest Florida by clicking here   

  • Enrolling in a new plan during Open Enrollment means your coverage starts January 1.
  • In most cases, Open Enrollment is the only time you can pick a new Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan.
  • If you are on a Medicare Supplement and have a Part D Plan and wish to change it, this is the time of year to do that.
  • There are exceptions to the Open Enrollment, such that you may have another enrollment period if you are aging in, leaving a job or have another qualifying event. In that case, your start date may begin before January 1.
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can also switch to Original Medicare. To get Medicare drug coverage, you must join a stand-alone Part D plan at this time. You may have a Medigap policy which helps pay Original Medicare costs, but you may be limited in your ability to buy a Medigap during the Open Enrollment Period, depending on where you live.

New to Medicare and Open Enrollment…click here for helpful information

2. Review your current Medicare Health and Drug Coverage during Open Enrollment

  • If you have Original Medicare, take a look at next year’s Medicare & You handbook to know your Medicare costs and benefits for the upcoming year. If you are unsatisfied with your Original Medicare coverage, you can make changes to your coverage during Open Enrollment. If you change plans, the changes will take effect January 1 of the next year.
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a stand-alone Part D plan, you should receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and/or Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from your plan. Review these notices for any changes in the plan’s costs, benefits, and/or rules for the upcoming year. If you are dissatisfied with any upcoming changes, you can make changes to your coverage during Open Enrollment. Changes made to your coverage will take effect January 1 of the next year.
  • Research shows that people with Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) could lower their costs by shopping among plans each year; there could be another Part D plan in your area that covers the drugs you take with fewer restrictions and/or lower prices. If you are satisfied with your current Medicare coverage, you should consider looking at other Medicare options in your area that may better suit your individual needs in the upcoming year. For example, if you are satisfied with your current Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, you should check to see if there is another plan in your area that will offer you better health and/or drug coverage at a more affordable price.

3. Get Assistance with Medicare Open Enrollment

  • If you want to join a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP), call us at (941) 809-2012. We utilize a comparison tool to assist in determining if another Part D Plan would be better for the coming year.  The Plan Finder tool compares plans based on the drugs you need, the pharmacy you visit, and your drug costs.
  • If you want to join a Medicare Advantage Plan, call us at (941) 809-2012 to find out what plans are in your area. We can review what is available and assist you in making an informed choice that is most appropriate for YOU.
  • After you have researched the plans available, Insurance Plans For U, a local licensed agent, can make sure the plan includes your doctors and hospitals in its network. We can also confirm that the plan covers your drugs, and that your pharmacies are in the preferred network. Be certain if you speak to a licensed Medicare agent, they have you sign a Scope of Appointment which gives them the authority to assist you.  This information may help protect you if there is a misunderstanding down the road. The Scope of Appointment is required by Medicare.

4. Timelines to review plans During Open Enrollment

  • Beginning October 1 each year, agents may begin contacting you to determine if you you would like to compare Medicare plans and determine if your Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement or Part D Plans are the best choice for you in the coming year.
  • Agents CANNOT accept  a signed application prior to October 15 each year, nor can they accept one after December 7.
  • Working with an agent who represents many plans may remove some of the worry about how, when and where to enroll in a new plan, and if that is in fact the best decision for you. Sometimes, the current plan you are on may be the most advantageous.

5. If you are dissatisfied with your Medicare Advantage Plan, you can disenroll from that plan and join Original Medicare during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP). 

  • The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MAPD) is every year from January 1 to February 14.

5. Understand the difference between the Medicare Open Enrollment and Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplaces.

  • The Health Insurance Marketplaces (also known as Exchanges) offer annual open enrollment periods for uninsured and underinsured Americans. This enrollment period may overlap with Open Enrollment. The Marketplaces are not meant for people with or eligible for Medicare.
  • If you have or are eligible for Medicare, you should only use the Open Enrollment Period (October 15 to December 7) to make changes to your Medicare coverage.

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