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How Should I Prepare for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) has many names. Other names for the Annual Enrollment Period include:

  • Annual Election Period
  • Medicare Open Enrollment Period
  • Fall Open Enrollment Period

The Annual Enrollment Period begins on October 15th and ends on December 7th every year. It is one of the opportunities during the year to make changes to your Medicare Advantage and/or Part D for the upcoming year.

*Please note that the Medicare Open Enrollment Period does not apply to your Medicare Supplement plan. Your Medicare Supplement plan is guaranteed renewable. This means you do not need to take any action to continue your Medigap coverage as long as you continue to pay your premiums on time.’

Questions to Ask During Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

This is a great time to research and evaluate your financial and medical situation. Many insurance agencies will encourage you to explore what options are available to you even if you have been completely content with your coverage during the past year. This is because there may still be a less expensive, or better suited health plan available for you.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is a time to weigh the costs and benefits of your coverage while considering what kind of coverage you might need for the upcoming year. If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan but have been interested in learning about basic Medicare and Medicare Supplement insurance plans, now is the time to research and weigh your options!

To make the most of this enrollment period, you should begin by researching your options. Ask yourself these questions:

1. What do you like and dislike about the Medicare coverage that you’re receiving? Does it meet your medical and financial needs?

When you think about what you want from your health insurance coverage, don’t be afraid to ask for more than you think you can get. If you are paying premiums and co-payments that you think are too expensive, it is quite possible that there is another plan or method of coverage that will offer similar coverage with lesser or no co-payments. Make sure you are clear about what you are looking for and think about how much you want to pay and what kind of coverage you want for the next year.

2. What are your health insurance options?

When you first consider Medicare coverage you have choices to make – you can get basic Medicare, a Medicare Advantage Plan, or a Medicare Supplement plan.

Medicare Advantage plans may offer you low to no monthly premiums, but they may require co-payments and more out-of-pocket expenses (when compared to a Medicare Supplement plan), and may be a good option for you.

Medicare Supplement insurance plans are additional insurance to cover the gaps in your basic Medicare coverage. They require monthly premiums but cover more of your out of pocket medical expenses than Original Medicare.

3. Can you save money?

It’s time to consider the funny notion of actually saving money on your health care coverage!

There are always expenses associated with health insurance. You are either paying out of pocket expenses or premiums. However, if you know your options and can make educated decisions about your insurance coverage you could end up saving money.

How to Take Action During AEP

There are many actions you can take during AEP to adjust your coverage to fit your needs.

Sign up for Medicare Part D Online

If you are interested in or currently have a Part D plan, you can:
• Join a Medicare Part D plan for coverage on prescription drugs
• Switch from one Part D Plan to another Part D plan

AEP for Medicare Advantage Policyholders

If you are a Medicare Advantage policyholder, you can take the following actions during AEP:
• Change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (and vice versa)
• Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Advantage plan
• Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan without prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage (and vice versa)

During this period, anyone who is currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan can switch to a different Advantage plan, switch insurers, or switch from an Advantage plan to a Medicare Supplement plan if you’re eligible. That is why this period is so important for anyone currently covered or interested in Medicare Advantage plans.

One of the many advantages of Medigap policies is that you may be able to switch plans or insurers at any time of the year, depending on your situation. However, for anyone interested or enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, AEP is one of the main times of the year that you can make changes to your Advantage plan.

AEP for Medicare Supplement Policyholders

AEP does not apply to your Medigap policy. You do not need to take any action to continue your Medigap coverage as long as you continue to pay your premiums on time.

As always, if your Medigap policy is expected to have a rate increase in the near future, GoMedigap will reach out to you via phone and email to help you reevaluate your options. If you happen to get a rate increase notice from your insurance carrier before we have the opportunity to reach out to you, please call us for assistance.

Nothing on this website should ever be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult with your medical provider regarding diagnosis or treatment for a health condition, including decisions about the correct medication for your condition, as well as prior to undertaking any specific exercise or dietary routine.

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