12 Aug Medicare Annual Enrollment Period-AEP: What You Need to Know
There are several important decisions to make and considerations to consider during AEP when reviewing possible coverage options, it can be confusing.
When is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)?
The Medicare AEP occurs between October 15 and Dec 7 each year. AEP applies to Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D—drug coverage—but not to Medicare Supplement plans.
Can I join a Medicare Advantage plan or Medicare Part D plan during the AEP window?
Yes, you can join a Medicare Advantage (MA or MAPD) plan or Medicare Part D, prescription drug plan (PDP) during the Medicare AEP. NOTE: if you weren’t previously enrolled in one of these plans and your Initial Enrollment Period* has ended, you may have to pay a Medicare Part D late enrollment penalty to join a drug plan.
* Initial Enrollment Period happens when you first become eligible for Medicare Parts A and B, generally 3 months before the month you turn 65 and 3 months after. If you miss that window, AEP is the next time you can join a Medicare Advantage plan outside of a qualifying event for special enrollment.
Can I switch Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D coverage during AEP?
Yes, you can switch between Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Part D plans. AEP is the time to look at what your options are before continuing the current plan or making a change for 2022.
Any changes you make to your current plan during AEP will take effect on Jan 1st, 2022. You can make more than one change if you discover a plan that better suits your needs after your initial choice. The last change you make before Dec 7, 2021 is the one that will go into effect on January 1st, 2022.
Can I drop Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D coverage during the AEP?
Yes, you can drop coverage that you no longer think you need. Consult with your agent prior to dropping Part D, if you decide to re-enroll in Medicare Part D later you may face a late enrollment penalty.
Can I join or switch to a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan during the AEP?
AEP doesn’t apply to Medicare Supplement (Medigap)plans; however, you can switch to Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans year-round. When switching to a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan there may be underwriting involved, meaning they can factor your age and health status into your cost.
Most people with a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plans also have a Medicare Part D plan for drug coverage, so the AEP window can still be a good time to upgrade your coverage.
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