We all become eligible for Medicare benefits when we turn 65. But it might surprise you to learn that there are different types of Medicare programs from which you can choose. And, once you enroll in a program, you aren’t required to stay in it for the rest of your life.
Each year, Medicare runs their Annual Election Period, during which time you can drop a plan and/or add a new one. But in order to do so, you must keep up with these deadlines. Otherwise you can’t make changes until the following year’s Annual Election Period.
The Annual Election Period runs from October 15 to December 7. During this time, you should evaluate your current plan’s offerings and update yourself on any changes. If you think a different plan might suit you better, you can switch. You can also add or drop Part D (prescription drug) coverage.
During this time, you might decide that your current plan suits you just fine. In that case, you don’t have to take any action. Your current plan(s) will automatically renew.
Your new plan begins January 1. Therefore, your current plan expires on December 31. Depending upon your healthcare needs, you might consider scheduling certain procedures before the end of the year if your coverage is changing. On the other hand, it might be better wait until your new plan begins. This is an issue to discuss carefully with your personal physician.
You can drop a Medicare Advantage plan between January 1 and February 14. If, for any reason, you decide an Advantage plan is wrong for you, you can drop it and return to original Medicare during this time. This will also allow you to add a Part D (prescription drug) plan. However, you can’t exchange one Advantage plan for another.
Late enrollees can sign up from January 1 to March 31. We’re all supposed to sign up for Medicare when we turn 65, but if you missed the deadline you can sign up during this time. Remember that you will be charged a penalty for your late enrollment.
With the Annual Election Period rapidly approaching, it’s time to begin evaluating your options. Give us a call, and we can help you compare different Medicare plans.