Don’t panic, you still have about 3 months left before we enter the Medicare Annual Election Period. How will you know it is getting closer? Well, you will see an increase of Joe Namath and Jimmie Walker telling you all about the benefits you could be getting from Medicare. Don’t worry, in one of the later parts of this series I will touch a little bit more on the commercials and how they are not really what they appear to be.
What You Can Do During the Annual Election Period (AEP)
- You can leave traditional Medicare and enroll into a Medicare Advantage Plan
- You can disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan and return to traditional Medicare and get a stand-alone Part D Prescription Drug plan.
- You can change your stand-alone Part D Prescription Drug plan to another stand-alone Part D Prescription Drug plan.
- You can change your Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
For a full list of what you can do during the different enrollment periods check out our article here.
Your Window of Opportunity to Make a Change
The dates for the Medicare Annual Election Period are set in stone. You can make any of the changes discussed above from October 15th until December 7th. If you decide on December 12th that you need to change your stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan because a prescription you are taking will no longer be covered, then you will basically be stuck in that plan for another year
How do you know if there are going to be changes to your existing plan?
Medicare Advantage and Part D carriers are required to send out each year what is called an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) packet to all their policyholders. The carriers must send the ANOC package in the mail to you by September 30th.
I can’t tell you how many times we hear about folks either throwing these away or simply not even opening them. Don’t do this! While there is quite a bit of information in the packet, most of the major changes are listed on the first page. It is vitally important that you read over this prior to October 15th so you will have time to contact your agent and book time to review any changes that need to be made to your current coverage when the Medicare Annual Election Period rolls around.
Start Preparing Now
Yes, even though we are 3 months away from the Medicare Annual Election, there are things that you can do now.
- Make a complete list of your current medications. Be sure to include the full name of the prescription along with the dosage, quantity and strength on your list.
- Make a note beside any prescription that your doctor has informed you that could be changing in the future.
- Have this list with you when you meet with your agent during the Annual Enrollment Period.In Part 2 we will discuss what you should do if you have a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Supplement plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. As promised we will also dive a bit into the commercials, we all see and how they can be a bit misleading.
What if I have questions now?
If you are already a client of Senior Benefit Services, then please contact your personal agent immediately. For those folks who are not a current client but wish to start receiving the personalized attention they deserve, simply call (800)924-4727 or click here and one of our friendly staff members will connect you with your own personal advisor.