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Understanding the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP)

Medicare Bob
The Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) only occurs once a year, so it’s important to understand your options.
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If you’re a Medicare beneficiary, you can change your Medicare and prescription drug plans during the Annual Election Period (AEP) to better meet your health care needs for the following year.

Medicare sends beneficiaries with parts A and B an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letter every September. If you’re enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA) or a Part D plan, the private insurance company you work with will send your ANOC letter.

How Might Your Medicare Plan Change?

Your (MA) or Part D plan may need the following changes during AEP:

  • MA coverage: Will your doctor be out-of-network next year?

  • Part D coverage: Will the plan cover your medications?

  • Cost: Will your copays change?

After reviewing your Medicare health plan changes, you’ll have the opportunity to reevaluate your coverage. Let’s take a look at your options during AEP.

What Are Your Medicare Annual Election Period Options?

AEP occurs every year between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7. You can change your Medicare plan during these dates, and your new coverage will start on Jan. 1 the next year.

You may have the following AEP options:

  • Enroll in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan.

  • Drop MA and return to Original Medicare.

  • Switch MA plans with or without drug coverage.

Medicare Part D Plans:

  • Beneficiaries with Original Medicare can enroll in a Part D drug plan, switch to a different drug plan or drop Part D.

  • Beneficiaries with an MA plan who enroll in Part D will disenroll from MA.

When Can You Change a Medicare Advantage Plan?

After AEP, you can change your Medicare Advantage (MA) plan from Jan. 1 to March 31. During this Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you have the following options:

  • Switch to a different MA plan with or without drug coverage.

  • Drop your MA plan and return to Original Medicare.

If you go back to Original Medicare, you can also join a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. Learn when your new coverage begins and when you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Why Would You Change Your MA Plan?

  • You want lower monthly premium costs.

  • You need better drug coverage.

  • The doctor you want is out-of-network.

  • You want different or alternate coverage.

The licensed agents at Senior Healthcare Direct can assist you during the Medicare Annual Election Period. Call 1-833-463-3262, TTY 711, or get a quote today.

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