During the year there are a few opportunities to enroll, change or drop the Medicare plan you are on. One of those opportunities is during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). AEP runs from October 15th to December 7th. The last day of AEP to make changes to your Medicare plan is December 7th.
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 of options; a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) or the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP).
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 still fit your needs.
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:
- Moving to a new location that is outside your plan’s coverage area
- Losing your current health insurance coverage
- Changing 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 Medicare maze.