Time Frame for Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
One difference between Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage is the time of year when you can enroll. After 65, you can enroll in a medicare supplement at any point during the year. However, Medicare Advantage and Part D plans can only be changed or enrolled in during a specific time frame, called AEP. AEP stands for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. The exception to this rule is if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, or SEP.
AEP is the time where you can sign up for, change, and disenroll from Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans. These changes will go into effect January 1st of the next year. A few of the things you are able to do during AEP are:
- Enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan
- Change from one prescription drug plan to another
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare
- Change from one MA plan to another MA plan
AEP and OEP Overlap
This year, the Medicare annual enrollment period will overlap with the enrollment period for under 65 health insurance. This is referred to as Open Enrollment Period, or OEP. OEP is the time period when people who are not old enough to qualify for Medicare will be able to enroll in the health insurance marketplace, which is mandated under the ACA. This year it will be from November 1st to December 15th. To see some changes this coming year in this market, click here.
After AEP Enrollment
If you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan during AEP and want to switch back to Original Medicare after AEP is over, you are allowed to do so during the Disenrollment Period. The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period is from January 1st to February 14th every year. You will also need to enroll in a prescription drug plan before February 14th if you want to avoid a penalty for late enrollment. Coverage begins the 1st of the month – the month after you enroll. For example, if you enroll in January, February 1st is when your new plan will begin. Keep in mind, if you drop a Medicare Advantage plan for Original Medicare, you cannot get on another Medicare Advantage plan until the following AEP.
Figuring out gap coverage, premiums, value add on’s and physician networks for healthcare plans can be confusing and time consuming. Speak with an agent now to learn about Medicare options in your area now.