Medicare Open Enrollment | The 5 Basics Every Senior Should Know
BY CHRISTIAN WORSTELL
Medicare open enrollment is upon us once again. If you’re new to Medicare or are in need of a refresher, here are five important details and helpful tips every Medicare beneficiary should know.
1. Open enrollment is fast approaching.
Medicare Open Enrollment Period, also known as the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP), begins on October 15 and runs through December 7.
2. You can make a number of changes to your Medicare coverage.
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is an opportunity to review your Medicare coverage and decide if any policy changes are in order.
Some of the changes you can make to your Medicare coverage during open enrollment include:
- Switching from Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) to a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C)
- Switching from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare
- Switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
- Joining, switching or dropping a Medicare prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D)
If you do not take any action, your existing Medicare coverage will roll over into 2019 and continue as is.
3. Check your mailbox for your annual notice of change.
If you are currently enrolled in either a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D plan, you should be receiving an “annual notice of change” or “evidence of benefits” letter from your insurance company.
This letter details any changes in cost or coverage pertaining to your plan for 2019. Insurance companies are required by law to send these letters to beneficiaries, so contact your plan provider if you haven’t received an annual notice of change letter by the end of September. 4. This may be your last chance to change your Medicare coverage until 2019.
If you fail to take any action during open enrollment, you may not get another opportunity to do so until the next Medicare Open Enrollment Period in October 2019.
There are Special Enrollment Periods that may be granted throughout the year, but only under certain circumstances. For most people, the Open Enrollment Period is their only chance to update their Medicare coverage in 2018.
5. You can disenroll from Medicare Advantage if you’re not satisfied with your plan.
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during open enrollment and decide you do not like your plan and want to switch back to Original Medicare, you may do so between January 1 and February 14 during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period.
There is no cancellation fee or penalty for switching back to Original Medicare, so some Medicare beneficiaries may decide to at least try a Medicare Advantage plan.
The above five tips will hopefully help every Medicare beneficiary feel better prepared heading into the 2018 Medicare Open Enrollment Period.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christian Worstell is a writer for TZ Health Media from Raleigh, North Carolina. He loves sandwiches, golf, and fantasy football.