It is that time of year again – Fall Open Enrollment for Medicare.

 

Fall Open Enrollment, also referred to as the Annual Coordinated Election Period, runs from October 15 through December 7. During this period you can join a new Medicare Advantage Plan or stand-alone prescription drug plan (Part D) for the following year. You can also change your Original Medicare with or without a Part D plan and Medicare Advantage for the following year.

 

This is also the time you can enroll in Part D for the first time if you did not enroll during your initial Enrollment Period. Unless you have had other creditable coverage, you may have to pay a premium penalty if you enroll during the Fall Open Enrollment.

 

Here are some helpful things to know about Fall Open Enrollment:

 

Important dates

  • Fall Open Enrollment occurs each year from October 15 to December 7
  • Any changes you make during Fall Open Enrollment will take effect January 1

Review and revise your health and drug coverage where appropriate

  • Fall Open Enrollment is an important time to review your current Medicare health and drug coverage. If you are not happy with your coverage for next year, then you should make changes during Fall Open Enrollment.
  • Should you have Original Medicare, then you should research your Medicare costs for the upcoming year.
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D plan, you should review your “Annual Notice of Change (ANOC)” and/or “Evidence of Coverage (EOC)” from your plan for any changes in costs, benefits, and/or rules for the upcoming year.

Shop around

  • Even if you are happy with your current Medicare coverage, you should still investigate other Medicare options in your area.
  • Check to see if there is another plan in your area that will offer better health and/or drug coverage at a more affordable cost.
  • If you shop among Part D plans each year you could find a plan that covers the drugs you take with fewer restrictions and/or lower prices.

Medicare Advantage Plans can also be changed during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP)

  • The MA OEP occurs each year from January 1 through March 3
  • The changes made to Medicare Advantage Plans during the MA OEP take effect on the first of the month following the month you enroll.
  • During the MA OEP, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another, or switch from Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare with or without a Part D prescription drug plan.

Fall Open Enrollment vs. Open Enrollment for the State or Federal Marketplaces

  • The federal Marketplaces (a/k/a Exchanges) offer annual open enrollment periods for uninsured and underinsured Americans.
  • The enrollment period for the federal Marketplaces may overlap with Fall Open Enrollment.
  • The Marketplaces are not intended for people who either currently have Medicare or who are eligible for Medicare

Find help

  • There are a number of tools available to navigate through the maze that is Medicare Open Enrollment
  • Medicare’s Plan Finder tool is helpful to find Part D plans, as it compares plans based on the drugs you need, the pharmacy you use, and the cost of your drugs.
  • Call 1-800-MEDICARE if you are interested in joining a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Subscribe to the Russo Law Group Blog for updated information about Medicare throughout the year.

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