What is the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is a ten-week period during which a Medicare beneficiary can change their coverage. This is the only time, other than when you originally qualify for Medicare, that you can choose a plan.
When is the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?
Medicare Open Enrollment Period runs from October 15 through December 7.
When Do Changes I Make during the Open Enrollment Period Take Effect?
All changes take effect January 1, 2020.
What changes am I allowed to make during the Open Enrollment Period?
You can revisit all the choices you made when you first enrolled for Medicare, or choices you made during the last Open Enrollment Period.
For example, you can
- Choose between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage
- Add, remove, or change your prescription drug coverage
If I Am Happy with My Current Coverage, Why Would I Consider Changing?
There are many reasons to consider changing your coverage, even if your coverage worked for you in the past.
In particular, Medicare Advantage plans and drug plans can change radically from year to year.
Not only can premiums change, but out-of-pocket costs, including deductibles, copayments, and spending limits can also change.
In a Medicare Advantage plan, the providers in your network may change, leaving you without the doctors you have relied on until now.
If you take medications, as most seniors do, your drug plan deserves extra scrutiny as well. Not only can the pharmacies in your network change, but the cost of your medications may change as well. It is worth reviewing the available drug plans to see which will save you money on the medications you expect to use in the coming year.
How Would I Know If the Benefits I Have under My Current Coverage Will Change Next Year?
During October, Medicare Advantage and drug plans sends all current members official notice of all changes to their plan. This is called an “Annual Notice of Changes.” They may also send a new description of the costs and benefits of your current plan, called, “Evidence of Coverage.”
You should look at these documents very closely. Not only do you want to check if costs and benefits will change, you will want to see if there are other plans that better suit your specific medical needs.
How Do I Change My Plan?
You can change plans online, at medicare.gov; by phone, at 1-800-MEDICARE; or by mailing in a printed application.
What Should I Do If I Want to Keep My Plan?
If you are keeping the same plan you had last year, you don’t have to do anything. You will be reenrolled automatically in the same plan.
Is the Open Enrollment Period the time to enroll in Medicare for the first time?
No. The Open Enrollment Period is only for current Medicare beneficiaries.
The time for you to enroll in Medicare is three months before your 65th birthday.
If you miss this deadline, you can enroll during the General Enrollment Period, from January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020. Your coverage will take effect July 1, 2020.
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Or better yet, come see for yourself. Contact us to schedule a tour by clicking here or by calling (372) 787-8100.