When you reached age 65, you enrolled in Medicare for the very first time. But Medicare enrollment isn’t set for life. You have frequent opportunities to make changes to your plan(s), to ensure that your healthcare options arrangements to best serve your needs and budget.
But it can be a bit tricky to keep track of the different Medicare enrollment dates, and what you can or should do each time one of them comes up. This handy list will help you stay organized.
September and October of each year… Your Medicare plan administrator will send you an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letter. Read this notice carefully, because it will inform you of any changes coming to your plan for the following year. In particular, pay attention to your plan’s drug formulary (list of covered prescriptions) so that you can continue to maintain coverage for the ones you need. This is the time to compare your current plan to others that might be available to you.
October 15… This date marks the beginning of Medicare’s Annual Election Period. During this time you can drop your plan and enroll in a different one (either Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan). You can also add a Part D plan to Original Medicare.
December 7… This is the deadline for the Annual Election Period. Make all changes by December 7, especially if you’ve chosen to enroll in Original Medicare.
January 1… This date marks the beginning of the new coverage year. Any changes you made during the Annual Election Period will take effect now.
January 1 through March 31… Each year, Medicare operates a Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period. If you’ve enrolled in an Advantage plan, you can make changes at this time. You can drop your Advantage plan and go back to Original Medicare, add a Part D plan if you’ve returned to Original Medicare, or change from one Advantage plan to another. But you can’t switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage at this time.
Of course, along the way even the most organized person can feel a bit overwhelmed at all of the Medicare options before them. If you have any questions or need assistance sorting through the different plans available to you, remember that free help is available to you. Just give us a call!