Over 62 million people were enrolled in Medicare last year. That means that about 18% of people in the United States received health care benefits through the Medicare program. Pretty amazing, right?
During the year there are a few opportunities to enroll, switch or drop the Medicare plan you are on. One of those opportunities is during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).
AEP is from October 15th – December 7th and allows those on a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) and/ or a Medicare prescription Drug Plan (Part D) the chance to change the plan they are on to one that may better suite their needs.
If you are enrolled in a plan that you are happy with then you don’t need to do anything. Your plan automatically renews on January 1st. Since carriers often update their benefits each year, it is a good idea to review your current plan to make sure the benefits in the new year will still fit your needs.
But what happens if you missed the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
If you missed the Annual Enrollment Period and would like to make changes to your Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan you have a couple options; a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) or the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP).
Special Enrollment Period (SEP)
Under special circumstances, you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan outside of the initial enrollment period. A few of those circumstances include:
- You move to a new location that is outside your plan’s coverage area
- You lose current health insurance coverage
- You have an opportunity to get coverage from an employer/union
If you meet one of these criteria, you may be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan without a penalty.
Open Enrollment Period (OEP)
The Open Enrollment Period is between January 1st and March 31st. During this time, you have the opportunity to change your Medicare Advantage Plan to a different plan from a different carrier. This is a one-time change opportunity to help those that may have found that the plan they selected is not the right fit.
If you miss the annual enrollment period and the open enrollment period and you do not qualify for a special enrollment period, you may have to wait until the following year to enroll.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed trying to navigate the Medicare system, Guided Medicare is here to help. Contact us and we will help you navigate the system and make the best choice when it comes to the Medicare Plan that fits your needs.