Medicare Annual Enrollment 2019
If you are looking to make changes to your current Medicare coverage, the Annual Enrollment Period (formerly called Medicare Open Enrollment) in 2019 has officially opened (October 15th and runs through December 7, 2019).
Medicare health and drug plans change from year to year. Premiums and benefits can fluctuate, health care providers and pharmacies may move networks, etc. In addition, your health needs and budget may change.
During the annual enrollment period, you can:
- Switch your Medicare Advantage Plan
- Sign up for a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Supplement plan for the first time
- Pick up or drop Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)
Changes made during Medicare Annual Enrollment Period will take effect January 1, 2020.
In order to make changes during Medicare Annual Enrollment, you need to already be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B (also known as Original Medicare). You are eligible to sign up for Medicare Parts A and B over a 7-month window known as the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP):
- 3 months before the month you turn 65
- The month you turn 65
- 3 months after the month you turn 65
To learn more about what Medicare Parts A and B are and what supplemental coverage options are available to you, watch this short video:
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP)
There is also a second enrollment period specific to Medicare Advantage plans: January 1 – March 31. This option gives beneficiaries an opportunity to “test drive” their selected Medicare Advantage plan for a few months. According to Medicare.gov, during this period, a Medicare Advantage beneficiary can:
- Switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage).
- Disenroll from your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare. If you choose to do so, you’ll be able to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- Change to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage) if you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan during Initial Enrollment Period or go back to Original Medicare (with or without drug coverage) within the first 3 months you have Medicare.
Navigating through the differences between Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, and Medigap can be confusing. Understanding how Medicare works is one side of the coin, however matching what coverage works best for your specific health needs, doctors, prescriptions, and finances is the other side. Not to worry. We are experts in this area and can help guide you so you can be confident and comfortable with your selection and coverage for the upcoming year.