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Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Guide
Frequently Asked Questions About Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period—also known as AEP—you can evaluate your current Medicare coverage, making sure you have all the benefits you deserve. There are many unknowns when it comes to Medicare, but we’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions about AEP for you below.
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.
What is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)?
AEP—also known as the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Annual Enrollment Period—is a yearly time period where Medicare beneficiaries can evaluate their current coverage and make changes. It’s not a requirement to make changes during this time, but Medicare plans often change, so it can be beneficial to compare your options annually to ensure you’re still receiving the benefits you deserve.
When is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)?
AEP runs from October 15-December 7 each year. You can learn more about the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period and how to prepare here.
How do I enroll in a Medicare plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
You can enroll in a Medicare plan during AEP by getting in touch with us. In just minutes, we can compare the Medicare options available to you from some of the most trusted insurance companies. This checklist can help give you a better idea of what you’ll need and help you get prepared for your call.
What kind of changes are allowed during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
During AEP, Medicare recipients can:
- Switch from Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B) to a Medicare Advantage Plan (Medicare Part C).
- Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan.
- Switch from one Prescription Drug plan (Medicare Part D) to another or enroll in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan for more comprehensive coverage.
- Add a Prescription Drug plan if you didn’t enroll when first eligible for Medicare.
Any changes you make during the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Enrollment Period will take effect on January 1 of the following year.
What is the difference between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage?
Medicare Advantage plans—also known as Medicare Part C—provide an alternative to Original Medicare. Offered by private health insurance companies that are approved by Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans are legally required to offer at least the same benefits as Original Medicare, but often include additional coverage such as vision, dental, prescription drugs or wellness programs.
Do I have to change my Medicare coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period?
You don’t have to make changes during AEP, but Medicare plans tend to change, so it can be beneficial to compare your options annually to ensure you’re still receiving the benefits you deserve at a price that works with your budget.
Can I change my Medicare plan outside of AEP?
When you can change and make additions to plans is different from person-to-person, but for the majority, there tend to be limited opportunities to join plans outside of the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Annual Enrollment Period. Learn more about the different enrollment periods.
Why is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period important?
AEP is important because Medicare plan details can change annually, making it a good idea to compare your options each fall to confirm your health and prescription drug needs are covered for the coming year. Even if you’re happy with your current Medicare plan, reviewing it during AEP could help you make sure you’re not overpaying or missing out on any additional benefits, such as dental, hearing, vision or prescription drug coverage.
Is auto-renewal available?
If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan or a Medicare Prescription Drug plan and you don’t want to make any changes to your coverage for the upcoming year, you don’t need to do anything during AEP as long as your current plan is still available. You should receive a notice if your plan is non-renewable prior to the enrollment period.
Have other questions about Medicare insurance? We can help.
If you have any additional Medicare questions, our FAQ page might have the answer you’re looking for. When it comes to AEP, we can help you save the time and hassle of navigating the complexities of Medicare by shopping some of the most trusted insurance companies on your behalf. In just minutes, we can compare plans to find one that meets your needs. There’s no obligation to enroll.