Missing Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP) can be a source of concern, but it’s essential to know that all is not lost. Whether due to unforeseen circumstances or oversight, there are steps you can take to address your Medicare coverage after the AEP has concluded.
Understand Your Options
While the AEP is the primary period for making changes to your Medicare coverage, certain life events may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP). These events include changes in residence, loss of employer-sponsored coverage, or eligibility for Medicaid.
Evaluate Your Current Coverage
Assess your current Medicare coverage and identify any gaps or changes in your healthcare needs. If your existing plan no longer meets your requirements, you might have opportunities to make adjustments outside the AEP.
Consider Medicare Advantage Plans
If you missed the AEP, you may still have the chance to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP), which runs from January 1 to March 31. This allows you to switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another, or to drop your Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare. However, those enrolled in Original Medicare cannot participate in this enrollment period.
Explore Prescription Drug Plans
If you have Original Medicare and need prescription drug coverage, you can enroll in a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (Part D) during the MA OEP. This can help address your medication needs without waiting for the next AEP. However, you cannot switch from one drug plan to another at this time.
Consider Medigap Plans
If you have Original Medicare and missed the AEP, you may still be able to apply for a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy. However, availability and acceptance are subject to certain conditions, so it’s crucial to check with insurance providers
Take Advantage of FEMA Special Enrollment Periods
Sometimes FEMA will announce a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) due to weather and other disasters, such as the one just announced due to a winter storm. Pay attention to this news, and you can switch Medicare plans during a FEMA SEP if one comes up.
Stay Informed for the Next AEP
If all else fails, use this experience as a lesson for the future. Mark your calendar and set reminders for the next Annual Enrollment Period to ensure you have ample time to review and adjust your Medicare coverage.
And remember, assistance is always free of charge! Call us for help with navigating your Medicare plan options, and we can help you sort through the different plans available and match you with the plan(s) that suit your needs.