What is the Annual Enrollment Period?

What is the Annual Enrollment Period?

Medicare beneficiaries often ask what Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is, and when it begins. During Annual Enrollment Period, you have the opportunity to review and make changes to your coverage and prescription drug plan. AEP is the most common enrollment period, and is from October 15th to December 7th. Senior Medicare Specialist, John Shinn recommends, “marking your calendar with these important dates, this may be the only chance you have to make changes to your plan.”

Pre-enrollment for AEP starts on October 1st. This is when you can start comparing your coverage to other plans. Before Annual Enrollment Period begins, carriers revise their plans, which may have coverage and/or cost effects to you. Even if you are happy with your coverage you should still look into others, as you may be able to save money and receive more benefits by switching plans. If you choose to switch your plan, the changes go into effect on January 1st of the following year.

The government restricts when you can purchase insurance. Carriers approve new products before AEP begins. Beneficiaries have from October 15th to December 7th to make any changes to their plans/coverage. Once Annual Enrollment Period ends in December, you are locked into your plan for the next year, which is why it is so important to carefully review your options and choose a plan that is best for you. Annual Disenrollment is from January 1st to February 14th. This is a short grace period following AEP that allows you to change your plan from a Medicare Advantage Plan to a Medicare Supplement Plan, and add a prescription drug plan.

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