Medicare Annual Enrollment period occurs every calendar year from October 15th and December 7th. Through this open enrollment window, you can make changes to your Medicare plans. Therefore you can change your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan, enroll, change or drop your Medicare Advantage Plan. Every change beneficiary is willing to make changes during this enrollment period will be effective on January the 1st of the following year.
It is important to know that you cannot make any changes to your Medicare Supplement plans or Medigap plans during this enrollment period because this does not apply to any of those plans.
Medicare Supplement plans have a guaranteed renewal for life; you don’t need to renew them yearly. Everything you need to do is to pay for your monthly premiums and you are guaranteed to keep your plan for life as long as you pay for it.
If you want to make any changes to your Medigap plans you don’t have to wait enrollment periods anymore because you will be able to make those changes any time during the year.
Should I Make Changes During the Annual Enrollment Period?
That depends. However, you should consider making changes due to the following reasons:
- Part D enrollees: you should consider changing your drug prescription plan if your medication needs have changed during the year so now your prescriptions don’t apply anymore to your current health issues. During the Annual Enrollment Period, you can shop for different drug prescription plans that may provide you with coverage for medications that you need currently. However, if you are happy with your current Part D prescription plan you don’t have to do anything during this period to keep your plan going.
- Medicare Advantage plans enrollees: there are a lot of Medicare beneficiaries that enroll in Medicare Advantage plans and then find out through the year that they are not entirely happy with them. Usually, things, because beneficiaries want to drop their Medicare Advantage plans, are: too restrictive because you usually have to go to in-network doctors and hospitals to avoid higher costs, no coverage outside the service area, and sometimes beneficiaries need to travel from hospital to hospital which accepts their MA plan, etc. Usually, MA policyholders want to switch back to Original Medicare and choose Medicare Supplement plans instead. If you want to switch back, you can do this during the Annual Enrollment period.
- Medicare Supplement plans: as already mentioned, you can change from any Medigap plan to another 365 days in a year. You don’t have to wait enrollment periods to do this. However, in most states, if you want to do this change you will have to pass through medical underwriting regardless of the time period in which you want to make a change. However, it’s recommended to do so when your rate increases.
We have already established that you can drop or change your Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Open Enrollment Period. However, if you want to drop your Medicare Advantage plan to switch back to Original Medicare and purchase a Medicare Supplement plan instead it is important to know a few things.
To do that you will need to answer a list of medical questions to be able to switch back and purchase a Medigap plan. You can be turned down based on your pre-existing health conditions. However, if you are in relatively good health you don’t need to be worried because most likely your application wouldn’t be denied.
So, if you are in that situation in which you need to do medical underwriting for your application consider doing that early (the best in October or early November) because if you do this late it could happen that you don’t succeed. In this case, if you miss the open window, you will have to wait till next year to make changes.
During this time of the year, you will receive your Annual Notice of Change Letter in your mailbox. Definitely be sure to check those letters to see if something has changed in your Medicare Advantage plans or Part D drug prescription plans. If you are not satisfied and want to make changes you have to do this between October 15th till December 7th- not later. If you are not aware that some changes happened it may be too late to make changes this year, so it is recommended to all beneficiaries be aware of this and avoid the worst scenario.
If you are not sure what should you do or how Annual Enrollment periods work, our Medicare experts in Better Place Insurance Group can help you get answers. Call us or text us today, we are eager to help you!
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