Medicare is a complicated program, and making a decision on your health care during retirement isn’t always easy. As with any decision you make, you may have made a choice regarding your health care that seemed great at the time, but it quickly became clear that it doesn’t fit your needs. No need to worry. Each year, Medicare offers retirees a “do-over” beginning in January. This time period, known as the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, allows individuals who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan the opportunity to make a one-time change to their health care coverage for the current year. Let’s take a deeper look into what this period means for you.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period isn’t your only chance to change your health care coverage
In addition to the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, Medicare offers two other opportunities for retirees to make changes to their health care coverage:
- Initial Enrollment Period: This period is the seven month window that begins three months before your 65th birthday and ends three months after that birthday. This is the best time to enroll in a Medicare plan. For example, insurance companies cannot deny you coverage for a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan if you enroll during this period.
- Annual Open Enrollment Period: This period runs from October 15 – December 7 each year. During the AEP, you can make a variety of changes to your health care coverage, including changing your Medicare Part D coverage and switching from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare with a supplement.
How is the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period different from the IEP and AEP?
Good question. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period only applies to those individuals who currently have a Medicare Advantage plan (you can learn more about Medicare Advantage plans in this article). Starting in 2019, this period lasts from January 1 – March 31. During this time, if you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can:
- Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan
- Drop your Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in traditional Medicare (Parts A and B) with a supplement
- Enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription plan if you return to traditional Medicare
This enrollment period only allows for one change in coverage, which means you will be tied to your new plan until a new enrollment period begins.
Do I want to switch plans? How can I make a change?
Medicare Advantage isn’t for everyone, and you may have realized that your current plan doesn’t fit all of your needs. Perhaps your favored providers aren’t in your plan’s coverage network, your out-of-pocket costs are higher than you anticipated, or maybe you can’t get the right prescription with your current plan.
Regardless of the reason you may want to switch plans, DirectMedSup can help you make a decision that works best for you and your family. Our agents can talk you through the process of switching from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare with a supplement. Give us a call today at 866-254-9197 to see what Medicare Supplement Plans can better fit your needs.