What You Can Do During the AEP
Medicare Annual Election Period - What You Need To Know!
- What is it?
- When is it?
- What do I need to know?
Sean Brady here with My Healthcare Direct and let's dive right into that.
Okay, so when is it?
It's going to be October 15th through December 7th. All right so anytime during that time period is when you would make changes to your plan if you needed to.
What kind of changes?
Let's say you have a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan (MAPD) you could switch to a different MAPD plan. Let's say you have a Medicare supplement also known as a Medigap plan.
You could potentially switch to a MAPD plan during this time frame as well. Same thing with a PDP. If you want to go ahead and make some changes, this is the time to do it.
Also if you want to drop Medicare advantage plan entirely and go back to original Medicare this is also the time to do that.
Let's swing over to the next side here.
All right, first of all what I recommend is look in the mailbox for an annual notice of changes. This is going to be a letter you're going to find that's going to come in September to early October.
If you have an MAPD plan or a prescription drug plan, be on the lookout for that. Once you get it, that's when you can shop around.
If you are going to make a change, it has to be done during that time frame. You have to have an application in by December 7th and this is for the January 1st effective date.
Give us a call. We are a brokerage firm we work with all the insurance carriers in your area. We can do a free review no cost to you to see if you're in the best possible plan that fits your needs and saves you the most money.
So give us a call. We'll do a free review for you and we'll see what we can do.
The Annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP) is a great opportunity for Medicare beneficiaries to alter their insurance coverage. This generally includes switching:
- From Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (and vice versa): Original Medicare (Parts A and B) is the base, first plan you sign up for when you get Medicare for the first time. But, if you choose, you can instead get a Medicare Advantage plan through a private insurer for some additional benefits and ways of reducing your out-of-pocket costs. During the AEP, then, you can either enroll in an Advantage plan apart from Original Medicare or disenroll in Advantage and go back to Original Medicare.
- From one Medicare Advantage plan/provider to another: Because Advantage plans are offered through private insurers, plans will look different across the board from different providers. You can, then, switch between two different plans, regardless of your reasoning for doing so.
- From a Medicare Advantage plan/provider without prescription drug coverage to an Advantage plan with Prescription Drug(and vice versa): One of the benefits of Medicare Advantage is that some providers include prescription drug coverage. But, not everyone does. So, if you have an Advantage plan without this coverage, you can switch to a plan that does. Or, on the other hand, say you have an Advantage plan that has prescription drug coverage, but it’s costing you too much money. In that or any other case, you can also switch from an Advantage plan with that coverage to one without it.
- From one Prescription Drug plan/provider to another: As is the case with Medicare Advantage, Part D (prescription drug plan) is also provided through private companies, meaning that prices and benefits will vary between carriers. So, like Advantage, you can switch plans/providers.
How the AEP Compares to Other Enrollment Periods
The AEP, however, is not the only enrollment period. Of course, you will have opportunities to enroll in Medicare for the first time. The best time to do this is during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP), which takes place during your 65th birthday.
You can also do so during the General Enrollment Period (GEP), which takes place from January 1st through March 31st. However, you may face late fees if you use this period, but it is still a good option if you are not yet enrolled.
The best time to use the AEP, then, is when you’ve already used the IEP or GEP, and simply want to change what you currently have.
Should You Use the AEP?
Clearly, you can do a lot during the AEP. The question, then, is should you? You do not have to use the AEP, but you should if you can find better coverage elsewhere. The best way to do this is to “shop around” and compare available plans in your area, seeing how they “stack up” against your current coverage, looking at both its costs and benefits.