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How to Prepare for Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

An elderly man smiles and feels better prepared for Medicare Annual Enrollment Period with the help of SelectQuote

As your healthcare needs evolve, it’s important to make updates to your Medicare benefits. During the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan Annual Enrollment Period (also known as your AEP), you have the opportunity to evaluate your current coverage and make changes or updates. If your coverage needs have changed in the last year, your AEP is the best time to make any necessary adjustments so you can keep receiving the coverage that works best for you. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps you can take to help you prepare for the upcoming Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.

Know When Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Takes Place

The Medicare AEP takes place from October 7-December 15 each year. During this time, Medicare recipients can:

  • Switch from Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) to a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C)
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • Switch from one Prescription Drug plan (Part D) to another
  • Add a Prescription Drug plan if you didn’t enroll when first eligible for Medicare

Make sure the upcoming AEP is noted on your calendar so you’re prepared to make any changes within that time frame.

Create a Checklist to Figure Out What Type of Medicare Coverage You Need

With so many options for coverage available, it can be hard to decide which plan is right for you. It may be helpful to make a list of priorities and non-negotiables so you know what to look for when evaluating Medicare plans. Factors to consider include the cost of premiums and deductibles as well as out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. You can even take this quiz to help get you started on figuring out what type of Medicare plan could be right for you.

Review Your Current Medicare Insurance Plan

Reviewing your current Medicare plan will give you a better idea of what you do and don’t need to change. Look at details like your current monthly premium, annual deductible and type of plan. This will help you compare your current coverage to other plans so you can determine if any changes need to be made.

Make a List of Medications and Evaluate Your Current Prescription Drug Plan (Medicare Part D)

Being able to reference a list of your current medications is helpful when evaluating Medicare prescription drug coverage. If your prescriptions have changed since the last AEP, now is the time to evaluate whether the coverage you have is still the right fit for your needs and budget.

Understand the Difference Between Medicare Fall Open Enrollment and Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

The Medicare Advantage Annual Enrollment Period can easily be confused with the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1-March 31 each year and allows Medicare Advantage enrollees to make a one-time plan change. During this time, you can:

  • Switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan
  • Drop a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B)
  • Sign up for a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan, if electing to return to an Original Medicare plan (Parts A and B)

Understanding the difference between the two will make the process smoother if you do need to make any changes to your Medicare coverage.

Still have questions about the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period? Let SelectQuote help.

Making policy changes during the Medicare Annual Enrollment period can be confusing, but we’re here to help. At SelectQuote, we can compare Medicare Advantage and Supplement plans in just minutes, taking the guesswork out of the process and helping you get the information you need to update or change your benefits. We’ll take the time to learn about your unique situation, ensuring we find the right plan for your needs.

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