Change Your Plan During Medicare AEP – Annual Election Period
The Annual Election Period (AEP) is the time when many people review their Medicare coverage and decide to switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan. During AEP, Medicare recipients can also drop Original Medicare and enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, switch Prescription Drug Plans, or even drop their MA plan and revert to Original Medicare, and enroll in a PDP at this time. In this article, we look at some key facts about AEP and what you can do.
Medicare Benefits Solutions
Sep 4, 2021
What is the Medicare Annual Election Period?
The Annual Election Period takes place between October 15th and December 7th each year. This is when those eligible for Medicare can make changes to their coverage, including enrolling in a new Medicare Advantage Plan – with or without prescription drug coverage.
Before AEP begins, Medicare Advantage enrollees receive an ANOC, or Annual Notice of Change. The ANOC is a document that tells you about any upcoming changes to your plan, which may help you make important decisions about any changes you might like to make to your existing coverage.
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What’s covered by Medicare Supplement?
The coverage offered by the different Medigap plans varies – and it can change each year. In general terms, you can expect Part A coinsurance and hospital costs to be covered for up to 365 days after your Original Medicare benefits are used up. Many plans sold before January 1 2020 also covered the Part B deductible, but this is no longer the case.
It’s particularly important to note the things Medicare Supplement doesn’t cover. Long-term care expenses aren’t included, nor is dental care. Also excluded are eyeglasses, hearing aids and private-duty nursing. In addition, some states have a Medicare waiver, meaning private health insurance companies aren’t obliged to offer any Medigap plans within those states.
Which Medicare plan is right for you?Generally speaking, most people opt for one of two options: stick with Original Medicare, or enroll in Medicare Advantage. Those choosing the latter option often find a plan that includes prescription drug coverage (also known as Part D). In cases where your MA plan does not include drug coverage, like in a PFFS or MSA plan, you may be able to enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan separately.
You have many options available during AEP. Which route you choose to take can depend on various factors. You might want to start by reviewing your current coverage and comparing other plans available in your area.
What if you defer or delay enrolling in Medicare?Ideally, you should enroll in Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D as soon as you’re eligible – or you may face penalties for delaying. You can be penalized for not having creditable prescription drug coverage for a continuous period of 63 days or more after your Initial Enrollment Period.
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