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2016 Medicare Open Enrollment Starts October 15th - 5 Things You Need To Know

MN Health Staff Writer | September 15, 2015

1) Medicare's Annual Open Enrollment Period is for SWITCHING Medicare Advantage & Prescription Drug plans

 

The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period is the one time each year when you can switch your Medicare Advantage (MA), Medicare Advantage with Prescription Drug (MAPD), or Part D Prescription Drug (PDP) plan. This means that if you don’t like your current plan, you can use this time to enroll in a different plan to replace it effective the first of the following year. You should compare the cost and coverages of your current MA, MAPD, or PDP plan to see if it is still the best fit for your needs. With a list of your current providers and medications, the licensed agents at MN Health Insurance Network can compare all of the Medicare plans that they represent in your area for free, and make suitable recommendations. You may contact us here.

 

2) Medicare's Annual Open Enrollment Period is typically NOT for First Time Enrollment

 

Yes, we know “Enrollment” is part of the name Open Enrollment, but don’t be fooled. As stated in Tip #1, the Annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP) is best for switching plans. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) is when you first sign up. Usually the best time to enroll is when you are first eligible for Medicare Part B. There are some exceptions where you can first enroll (or disenroll) during the AEP, but it is mainly for switching. Not sure when to enroll for the first time? Contact one of our Medicare Brokers at MNHI today.

 

3) Medicare's Annual Open Enrollment Period starts October 15th

 

The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period runs from October 15th through December 7th, for a January 1st effective date. If you miss this enrollment window, you will need to keep the plan that you currently have for another year.

 

4) Don’t get Medicare's Annual Open Enrollment Period confused with the new Obamacare Open Enrollment

 

As if Medicare wasn’t already confusing enough, now there is one more thing to add to the chaos. The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has its own "open enrollment” period around the same time as the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period. The two enrollments are very different, with different start and end dates. Just remember that the Obamacare open enrollment is not for (most) seniors!

 

5) Medicare Supplement or Medigap plans Open Enrollment

 

Many people believe that they can switch to a Medicare Supplement or Medigap plan during the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period. These Medicare Supplement or Medigap plans have a unique guaranteed enrollment period of 6 months, which usually begins on the first of the month that you turn 65 and are first eligible for Medicare Part B. This allows you to enroll these plans guaranteed, regardless of your health. However, if you miss this initial time period and wish to enroll, you will be subject to medical underwriting, and could be declined.

 

Next Steps

 

Before and during the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period, you will want to research your current health plan’s changes for the upcoming year, and compare it to other health plans in your area. If you determine that your current Medicare plan meets your needs, you don’t need to do anything. If you are not happy with your existing Medicare plan, or just want to compare what else is out there, give us a call at 952-224-0123.

Category: Medicare Supplement
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