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What Is the Annual Enrollment Period?

Each fall, you may notice more people talking about Medicare. This buzz is because the start of the Annual Enrollment Period, Medicare’s biggest season, begins on October 15th. This is one of the only times of the year that you can make changes to Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.

The Annual Enrollment Period, sometimes known as Medicare Open Enrollment or Annual Election Period (AEP), starts October 15th and ends on December 7th. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, this is one of the few times that you can leave your plan to enroll in Original Medicare. Exceptions to this rule are not common but may include circumstances such as if you lose your coverage because you move out of your carrier’s service area.

The Annual Enrollment Period is also crucial if you already have a Medicare Supplement plan because it’s the only time when you can make changes to your existing Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

How Do I Drop My Medicare Advantage Plan During the Annual Enrollment Period or Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?

Dropping your Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period or Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is simple. You can contact your carrier directly by phone to disenroll or call Medicare at 1 (800) MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

How Do I Change My Medicare Part D Drug Plan During the Annual Enrollment Period?

Even if your medications haven’t changed, you should shop your Medicare Part D plan every year because your current provider may make updates to your plan that will cost you more money. Fortunately, reviewing your options and changing your plan is a simple process.

You can shop for Part D plans online. Keep in mind that 2019 Part D costs vary from plan to plan. Some plans offer minimal coverage, with a lower premium, while other plans may provide a higher level coverage for a higher premium. To ensure that you find the plan that may offer you the best savings, make sure you enter any medications that you take, and select your preferred pharmacy. During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you can add or drop Part D coverage.

How Do I Get a Medicare Supplement Plan During the Annual Election Period?

You may need to answer some medical questions when you apply for a Medicare Supplement plan. Medical underwriting is a process that insurance carriers use to determine if they will accept your application. Depending on the state you live in, for example New York, you may not have to answer any medical questions. You may also avoid this process if you are in a Special Election Period, for instance, if you lost health coverage recently, or if you are within six months of beginning Medicare.

It’s important to note that if you currently have a Medicare Supplement plan, you generally do not need to wait until the Annual Election Period to change your coverage. However, if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, and want to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, you’ll want to apply for a Medicare Supplement plan as soon as the Annual Election Period begins so that you don’t have any gaps in your coverage. By applying early, you’ll ensure that you have proper health insurance lined up for when your Medicare Advantage coverage ends.

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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