Which changes can I make during the Annual Enrollment Period?
If you watch TV or listen to the radio, you’ve certainly heard all the chatter about the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), which begins every year on October 15th. With so many ads flooding the scene, many are still left wondering exactly what this time period is for and what they are able to do during this time.
If you have just aged into Medicare, you may be one of those people who aren’t sure who to call. You should know that if you have not already signed up for Original Medicare, calling one of those agencies advertised on TV will get you nowhere. What will happen is that they will kindly let you know they cannot help you, and here’s why: The Annual Enrollment Period is for people who have already signed up for Original Medicare and have Medicare Part A or B, or a Medicare plan that they want to make changes to. If you don’t fit this description, you’ll need to take a step back.
If you need to sign up for Original Medicare, you can do so by contacting the Social Security Administration or the Railroad Retirement Board. Only after signing up for Original Medicare will you be eligible to enroll in a Medicare plan during AEP. Remember, you must have Medicare Part A and/or Part B (Original Medicare) already in place.
Keep in mind that if you are past your 65th birthday but missed your window to sign up for Original Medicare when you were first eligible, you may have to wait until the General Election Period to sign up (unless you qualify for a special exception). The General Election Period runs from January 1st to March 31st of each year.
During the Annual Enrollment Period, Medicare beneficiaries are able to join or make changes to their Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D) or Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C). And while this is the only time of year you can join or change those particular plans, it’s important to note that you can apply for a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap) at any time of the year. Just be aware that enrolling in a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap) during AEP will not guarantee your acceptance into the plan.
Plan options are typically available to view prior to the start of the Annual Enrollment Period, but you cannot make any changes until the period starts on October 15th. After that, beneficiaries may make unlimited plan changes through December 7th.
Ready to look at your plan options? Give one of our licensed Medicare Advisors a call today at 855-611-4856 or request a quote below!