MEDICARE ANNUAL OPEN ENROLLMENT PERIOD

Nov 6th, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Social Security & Medicare

Open Enrollment Period:  October 15-December 7

The Open Enrollment Period for Medicare is also known as the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP). This three week period of time this year (2012) is when you can make changes in your Medicare coverage if you want.  The AEP applies to original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription drug coverage.  If you make any changes, they will be effective on January 1, 2013.

Many Medicare beneficiaries do not need to make any changes.  But if your life-circumstances have changed, you may want to consider the options available.  This is especially true if you find your current Medicare plan does not meet your needs any longer.  Such considerations might includes changes that were made in the Medicare plan you currently have, medications that have been added or dropped from the formulary in your plan and benefits that have been added or dropped in your current plan.


This means that you need to review any changes in your current plan and then decide if you need to research other options.  Such research can be done on the Internet at Medicare.gov, or by calling Medicare (800-633-4227) and asking for help.

What Can You Do During AEP?

During AEP, you can do any one or all of the following:
  • Switch from original Medicare (Plans A and B) to a Medicare Advantage Plan or vice versa; you can also change from one Medicare Advantage Plan (Plan C) to another; these are the plans that are offered by private insurance companies;
  • Some Medicare Advantage Plans offer prescription drug coverage (Plan D) and some don’t; there are Plan Ds out there that are also ‘stand-alone’ plans; you can make changes to your prescription drug coverage during the AEP;
  • If you don’t have a Plan D, you can join one during AEP;

Be sure you ask for help if you are in a quandary about whether or not you need to make changes to your current coverage. It’s like voting.  Don’t ignore your right to vote, and don’t ignore your right to make changes to your Medicare benefits if you need or want to do so.



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