Joining Medicare is simple if you follow the proper steps. You may enter the federal government’s healthcare plan for retired seniors during Medicare Fall Open Enrollment.
Here are essential points to know about how to approach, secure, and adjust a Medicare plan.
What is Medicare Fall Open Enrollment?
Medicare’s Fall Open Enrollment occurs each year from October 15 through December 7. You might also come across sources that refer to it as the Annual Election Period. During this time, you can:
- Join a new Medicare Advantage Plan and/or choose Part D, which encompasses prescription drugs.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another.
- Switch from one Part D plan to another.
- Drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare.
How to Review Your Medicare Plan?
The best way to adjust your Medicare plan for the future is to thoroughly review your current healthcare and drug coverage. Make sure it includes all the medications and treatments you expect in the coming years. This information may change in the future as your health changes, so it’s a good idea to update your plan once per year.
You can review your plan by:
- Reading the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) documents that your plan sends you every fall. These documents explain any changes in your plan’s costs, benefits, and rules for the next year.
- Comparing your plan’s costs and benefits with other plans available in your area. You can use Medicare’s Plan Finder tool or call 1-800-MEDICARE to find out what plans are offered in your zip code.
- Checking your plan’s star rating, which measures how well your plan performs on quality, customer service, and member satisfaction. You can find your plan’s star rating on Medicare’s Plan Finder tool or on your plan’s website.
How to Enroll in a New Medicare Plan?
The best way to enroll in a new plan is to call 1-800-MEDICARE. You’ll enroll faster if you do so directly through Medicare. When you speak with a Medicare representative, take notes that include:
- The name of the Medicare representative
- The date and time of the conversation
- The confirmation number of your enrollment
- The name and details of the plan you enrolled in
You can also enroll online through Medicare’s Plan Finder tool or through your plan’s website. Make sure you have your Medicare card and a list of your current medications handy when you enroll.
How to Switch from Medicare Advantage?
After you’ve enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you may choose to switch back to Original Medicare during the next Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP). This period runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. During this time, you can:
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another
- Drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare
- Add a Part D plan if you return to Original Medicare
If your health condition requires taking prescription drugs, you’ll need Medicare Part D to go with Original Medicare. You can use Medicare’s Plan Finder tool to navigate through different prescription drug plans.
How to Avoid Confusion with Other Enrollment Periods?
It’s helpful to know the difference between Medicare Fall Open Enrollment and Open Enrollment for the state or federal marketplaces, also called exchanges. These special channels usually don’t target individuals who are eligible for Medicare, as they are meant more for the uninsured and the underinsured.
If you have Medicare, you don’t need to enroll in a marketplace plan. Doing so may cause you to lose your Medicare coverage or pay more for it. If you need help with your Medicare costs, you may qualify for programs like Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs, or Extra Help.
How to Get Proper Medicare Coverage
Medicare is available to seniors who have reached the age of 65. Some Americans end up paying more after missing the Open Enrollment period. If you would like to know more about your Medicare Fall Open Enrollment options, contact us at Medicare Advisors. Our team is ready to help you take greater control of your healthcare choices.