Plans change every year, and new plans become available. During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, a plan review ensures you’re on the right plan for your health and budget.
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, also sometimes referred to as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, runs from October 15 to December 7 annually.
We recommend having your Medicare plan reviewed at least once a year. Why? Because Medicare plans can change every year.
Your current plan may change its contract with Medicare. Suddenly, doctors you have a relationship with or prescriptions you rely on will no longer be available. New plans could also become available in your county – ones that offer better benefits at a lower cost or higher-quality rating.
Even more importantly, if your health or budget needs change, your current plan may not work. These are all excellent reasons to have your plan reviewed during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period and make a plan change.
Are you satisfied with your current plan? Without looking at other Medicare options in your area, you’ll never know if there’s a plan better suited to your individual needs. That’s why we recommend everyone on Medicare has their plan reviewed during the Annual Enrollment Period.
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is for people enrolled in Medicare Parts A & B.
Wondering when to enroll in Medicare for the first time? That is either during your Initial Enrollment Period, the General Enrollment Period, or a Special Enrollment Period. But it’s not during the Annual Enrollment Period.
Everyone enrolled in Medicare can make up to two changes during the Annual Enrollment Period.
Here are the six plan coverage changes that are possible:
Your Medicare provider should send you an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) every year. It will be mailed or emailed to you along with your plan’s Evidence of Coverage (EOC). You should receive these during September, but no later than September 30.
The Annual Notice of Change provides information about how your current plan will change in the coming year, effective January 1. At the same time, the Evidence of Coverage provides a more comprehensive list of the plan’s costs and benefits in the coming year.
It’s vital that you review your Annual Notice of Change and Evidence of Coverage to see how your plan changes. Your current doctors or specialists may change or your plan’s costs and coverage. Review the notice to ensure that your current plan will meet your health and budget needs in the coming year. If you don’t receive your Annual Notice of Change, you should contact your plan provider.
You don’t need to use the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period to make a change. But you should speak with a local licensed agent to review insurance plans. After reviewing your Annual Notice of Change and Evidence of Coverage documents, ask yourself the following questions:
Consider these questions, and then speak with a local licensed agent to see if any new plan options are available in your area. Remember, every year, new plans become available. There may be a plan that provides better benefits at a lower cost.
When comparing your current plan with potential Medicare coverage options, question the following:
Agent tip: If you have a standalone prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D), your plan should be reviewed annually. There could be other Part D plans in your area that cover your prescriptions with fewer restrictions and/or lower prices.
Once you have reviewed your Annual Notice of Change and compared plans with our Medicare plan comparison tool, we recommend you speak with a local licensed agent. Talking with an agent will reassure you that you’re making the most informed choice for your health and budget.
Have your Medicare card available and call (623) 223-8884 (TTY: 711) to schedule a time to speak with a local licensed Connie Health agent.
Were you enrolled in a plan? Are you wondering if you can change your mind and enroll in another plan? The answer is yes.
If you enroll in a plan early within the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7), you could have the opportunity to switch the plan again. We recommend reviewing your Annual Notice of Change and comparing your plan options early, so you have that choice. If you wait, the next time you can make a plan switch is during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period or a Special Enrollment Period, if you qualify.
Still not sure if you need to make a change this Annual Enrollment Period (October 15 – December 7)? Answer 15 simple yes-or-no questions about your health needs, finances & healthcare costs, and your Medicare plan to know whether you need to make a change. Download the free and no-obligation Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Checklist.
Read more by David Luna
I am a Spanish-speaking Arizona Life and Health Insurance Licensed Agent and have been helping people with Medicare since 2005. I am a Marine Corps Veteran & former police officer. I enjoy watching football and basketball but hold family time in the highest regard.