Medicare Annual Election Period
It’s almost that time of year again! Many folks have already been inundated with mail, email and phone calls talking about Medicare Annual Election Period. So, what is it? What can you do? What can you NOT do? This post is all about Medicare Annual Election Period or AEP and all of the details. Read on below!
What is Medicare Annual Election Period?
Medicare Annual Election Period also known as AEP is Medicare’s version on Open Enrollment. Meaning it’s the brief window of time every year when you can change your plan and at the same time, insurance companies are doing the same.
AEP runs from October 15th through December 7th each year. Any changes made during this time will be effective January First of the following year.
Every year a few weeks before AEP starts, you should receive what’s called an “annual notice of change” or ANOC from your insurance carrier. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you will get it from them and if you have a Medicare Supplement, you will NOT get one. The reason, is that any changes with that type of plan would Originate from Medicare itself. You will get an ANOC from your Part D plan however.
We’ll talk more about ANOC below.
What Can I do during AEP?
During Medicare Annual Election Period, there are several things you can do. The changes allowed are-
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to a different Medicare Advantage Plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare
- Apply to be covered to a Medicare Supplement
- Switch from one Part D drug Plan to a different one
- Sign up for a Part D drug plan
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Switch from a Medicare Supplement to a Medicare Advantage Plan
Any changes made are effective the following January 1st.
What should I do during Annual Election Period?
The main thing you should do during Medicare Annual Election Period is review your plan. Mentioned earlier, you should get your ‘Annual Notice of Change’ or ANOC from your insurance carrier around mid September. This document will go over general changes within your plan. Some plan changes may be-
- Changes in co pays
- Changes in Doctors
- Changes in network facilities
- Changes in deductibles
- and more
Needless to say, if you’re not aware of these changes, it may be a rude awakening come January if the co pay for your Medication was $4 and now it’s $17.
The best thing you can do during this time is meet with your Medicare Broker and discuss plan changes. If you don’t have a Broker or cannot get a hold of them, feel free to Contact Us, we’re happy to assist!
Should I change my plan?
Every year, not only does the plan that you’re on change, all the other ones do too! With that, the Insurance Companies are always competing for your business and coming up with new and robust coverage options with lower co pays, extra benefits and more.
In looking at possibly changing plans, it is VERY important to ensure that the two most important aspects are set up correctly. They are, the Doctors you like to see and the prescriptions you take.
If these two factors are included in the new plan you’re looking at, it may be a good idea to switch but it’s smart to look at all of the details and work with a trusted Broker who can look at all of the plans.