The Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP), also called Annual Enrollment, is important for many reasons. Most notably, it allows you to review and choose a new yearly contract for Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plans after comparing the benefits and rates of plans available in your area.
This enrollment period comes around every fall from October 15 to December 7. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans and/or Medicare Part D prescription drug plans can change their enrollment. They can switch to a different plan or drop the plan and return to Original Medicare.
The time leading up to the Annual Election Period is when Medicare beneficiaries should be reviewing their current coverage and any changes to their plan that will come into effect the following year. Taking note of this enrollment period can help you to seize opportunities that become available for enhanced coverage and better pricing, which is why you should review your plan.
1) Yearly Contracts
Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans use yearly contracts, with coverage beginning January 1. When you choose a new plan during the AEP, your new coverage begins in January. Likewise, if you renew your plan, any changes in coverage or pricing will be in place in the new year.
2) Price and Benefits Comparison
The Annual Election Period is a great opportunity to compare the prices and benefits offered by the plans available to you. Each plan will have its plan benefits and pricing information viewable at this time, so you can easily compare them and find a package that best fits your needs.
3) Medicare Part D Covered Prescription Drugs
When searching for a Medicare Part D plan, the most important consideration is whether or not the plan will cover your prescription drugs. Check the plans in your area to see first whether they cover the prescription drugs you are currently taking.
4) Reviewing Your Coverage
Each year a plan can adjust its pricing. Medicare beneficiaries should watch for annual notices of change that announce these adjustments in the fall prior to the Annual Election Period. Even if you like the coverage you have now, take the time to look over any coming changes and compare these to the other options available to you so you end up with the best coverage.
Find the Best Plan in Your Area
Both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans cover you based on your region. They often have networks of healthcare providers or regional pharmacies that they prefer you visit to receive coverage. During the Annual Election Period, we can help you shop around for the best regional coverage and pricing you can find.
Do you have more questions about the Annual Election Period? Let the expert Medicare Detectives find all the answers for you. Give us a call or schedule an appointment today!