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Understanding the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

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Understanding the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)

Friday, July 7, 2017 10:24 AM

What is the Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period?

Medicare’s annual open enrollment period begins on October 15th and runs through December 7th. During this period, anyone with Medicare can change their Medicare health plan and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs. Any changes made during open enrollment are effective as of January 1st the following year.

How do I know if I should change plans?

Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year to things like cost, coverage, and which providers and pharmacies are in their networks. Therefore, it is important to review materials sent from the plan, including the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC) to learn about changes to the plan and make sure the plan will continue to meet your needs for the following year.

Ask yourself: Are you satisfied with the coverage and level of care you're receiving with your current plan? Are your premium costs or out-of-pocket expenses too high? Has your health changed, or do you anticipate needing medical care or treatment? If the current plan meets all of your needs, nothing needs to be done.

What changes can I make to my plan?

  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) Plan
  • Switch from one Part D plan to another Part D plan
  • Drop your Part D coverage altogether
  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to a different Medicare Advantage Plan
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer prescription drug coverage
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does offer prescription drug coverage

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Last Revised 11/15/2017