Medicare enrollment period runs every year to help you sign up for Medicare or Medicare Advantage plan or switch from one Medicare plan to another. There are three Medicare open enrollment periods, including the Annual Enrollment Period, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, and the Supplement Open EnrollmentPperiod. Let us discuss what each enrollment period offers and what their dos and don’ts are.
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Periods
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
It runs every year from October 15 to December 7, during this time, you can:
- Enroll in a new Medicare plan
- Switch your current coverage
- Drop your Medicare Part D coverage
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
It runs from January 1 to March 31 annually, during this time, you can:
- Switch to original Medicare from the Medicare Advantage plan
- Make one customization to your Medicare Advantage plan
- New enrollments are not allowed during this period.
Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period
Those who sign-up for Original Medicare Part A and Part B coverages get a supplement enrollment period of 6 months to sign-up for the Medicare Supplement Plan without being denied for existing health issues.
Why Would I Make Changes to My Coverage During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?
The costs and benefits of the Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans change every year. If you have any of these plans and are unhappy with the changes, you can use the open enrollment period to make customizations.
Will I Be Kept Informed About the Policy Changes Beforehand?
You will receive a letter from your Medicare carrier in September about the changes coming into effect, including your premium, drug formulary, pharmacy networks, co-pays, etc., so you can decide to make customizations accordingly.
Who Is Eligible to Make Changes During the Open Enrollment Period?
People having original Medicare, Medicare Part D, or Medicare Advantage plan can make use of the open enrollment period to customize their current coverage. Nevertheless, if you don’t have Original Medicare Part A and Part B, you cannot use this open enrollment period. Also, you must wait until the general enrollment period to sign-up for Original Medicare.
What Changes Are Allowed During the Open Enrollment Period?
You can make several changes, including:
- Changing from Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare.
- Switching from one plan to another.
- Enrolling into or Dropping Medicare Part D.
- Signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan.
Though multiple changes are allowed, the last change you make will come into effect on January 1.
Why Do People Leave/Change Medicare Advantage Plans?
- Unhappy with the policy’s yearly changes.
- Increasing premiums/copays.
- Requires more coverage.
- Preferred doctors are not in-network.
Why Do People Leave/Change Medicare Part D Plans?
- Increasing monthly premiums or annual deductibles.
- Medications moving to a different tier.
- Dropping drugs completely.
- Found a better plan with more benefits.
Should I Answer Any Health Questions to Make Changes?[M1]
If you make changes during open enrollment periods, you don’t have to answer health questions. Otherwise, you have to answer health questions and pass your provider’s underwriting to be accepted.
These insights would help you make changes or sign up for a Medicare plan at the right time.