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Missed the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period? Learn more about your options.
At SelectQuote, we can help you navigate the Medicare process to make sure you’re getting the benefits you deserve. There’s no obligation to enroll.
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Guide
Did you miss the Medicare Advantage & Prescription Drug Plan Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)? Here’s what you can do.
Every year, Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to evaluate their current coverage and make changes during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)—also referred to as Medicare Fall Open Enrollment or the Annual Election Period—from October 15-December 7. This eight-week timeframe can be easy to forget, but if you’re one of the many individuals who missed the window, there might be some options available to you if you need to make changes to coverage.
Three Steps to Recover from Missing Medicare’s Fall Open Enrollment Period
Depending on what you were hoping to do during AEP, you may still be able to achieve it or make additional adjustments for the time being. Here are three steps you can take if you missed the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.
1. Research Other Medicare Enrollment Periods
Each year, there are five set times an individual can enroll in Medicare or change existing Medicare plans with AEP being one. Not everyone qualifies for each enrollment period, so take some time to learn more about the additional four.
- Initial Enrollment Period – The Initial Enrollment Period is meant for individuals who just became eligible for Medicare or are about to be. This time frame begins three months before your 65th birthday and continues through the three months following.
- General Enrollment Period – The General Enrollment Period runs from January 1-March 31 each year and is an opportunity for individuals who didn’t sign up for Original Medicare when they were first eligible. Individuals may have to pay a late enrollment fee and coverage does not start until July 1 of that year.
- Special Enrollment Period – Certain life events can make you eligible to enroll during a Special Enrollment Period, such as moving, losing employer coverage, being diagnosed with a qualifying chronic condition, or moving in or out of a skilled nursing facility or long-term hospital care.
- Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period – The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1-March 31 and allows Medicare Advantage participants to make a one-time change to their coverage. This enrollment period is only accessible for current Medicare Advantage plan policyholders.
2. Speak with Your Doctor About Changing Your Prescription Drugs
If you missed AEP and do not qualify to change your coverage in a different enrollment period, it can be beneficial to find ways to minimize your healthcare costs. One of the best ways to do so is by optimizing your prescription drugs and discussing your medication options with your doctor(s). The Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 requires Medicare plans to cover at least two drugs in each category and class, so even if your current plan might not cover your current drug, it should cover another drug designed to treat the problem.
3. Evaluate if You Qualify for the 5-Star Medicare Special Enrollment Period
The Medicare 5-Star Special Election Period is when you can switch to a 5-star-rated Medicare Advantage plan, stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or Medicare Cost Plan. Qualifying individuals can only switch to a 5-Star plan once between December 8 and November 30. Please note that 5-Star plans are not available in all areas.
Let SelectQuote help you weigh out your Medicare options.
Whether you need help navigating AEP or are trying to figure out when your best option for enrollment is, we can help make sure you’re getting the Medicare benefits you deserve. The service is free and there’s no obligation to enroll.