Note: This is for informational purposes only. Please contact me for more detailed information, or for information about a specific plan.
Annual Election Period: October 15 - December 7, 2017
During AEP, you may generally:
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn’t include prescription drug coverage to one that does, and vice versa.
- Enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan.
- Switch from one stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan to another one.
- Drop your prescription drug coverage.
Confirm Your Eligibility to Enfoll
If you’re thinking of enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan, verifying your eligibility should be the first item on your checklist for the Annual Election Period. To sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, you must have Medicare Part A and Part B and live in the service area of the Medicare Advantage plan. If you have end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you usually cannot sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, but there are a few exceptions.
Similarly, if you’d like to enroll in a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan, you must have Medicare Part A and/or Part B and live in the service area of the plan.
Decide If Your Current Coverage Still Meets Your Needs
If you’re currently enrolled in Original Medicare, Part A and Part B, you might consider signing up for a Medicare health plan to receive coverage not included in Original Medicare, such as routine vision or dental benefits. Medicare Advantage plans vary in the specific benefits they offer, but all are required to offer at least the same amount of coverage as Original Medicare (except for hospice care, which Medicare Part A covers). Some Medicare Advantage plans offer extra coverage, such as routine vision or dental benefits.
Most prescription drug coverage for medications you’d take at home is not included in Original Medicare and must be obtained separately, either through a stand-alone Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan or a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan.
Be Aware Of How Your Medicare Plan May Affect Other Insurance
If you have other coverage, such as retiree or veterans’ benefits, check if that insurance covers services that Medicare does not. Talk with your benefits administrator to see how your insurance works with Medicare. Some kinds of coverage may require you to have Medicare to maintain eligibility, while in other cases, enrollment into a Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug plan may cause you to irreversibly lose your other coverage. Always make sure you understand the rules and how Medicare enrollment may affect your other insurance before enrolling in a Medicare plan.