Every year a Medicare Open Enrollment Period, correctly referred to as the Annual Election Period, is made available for people who qualify for Medicare benefits.
During the 2019 Annual Election Dates, anyone who is eligible for Medicare Parts A and B can enroll in or make changes to their Medicare coverage.
Part D & Medicare Advantage benefits can change each year, meaning premiums can go up and benefits can change. If you’re not happy with the changes to your current Part D or Medicare Advantage benefits and/or premiums, you have an annual election period to change them.
However, if you’re happy with your current plan, there’s nothing you need to do!
Your insurance provider will send you a letter called the “Annual Notice of Change.” It’s important to take a few minutes to review this letter. This letter is sent out each year in September and will inform you of any changes to your plan such as premiums, copays pharmacy networks and drug formularies.
There’s also a big change to the enrollment periods starting in 2019, it’s the return of the Medicare “Advantage” Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. This period is between January 1st and March 31st, you’ll find more information at the bottom of this page.
2019 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Dates (Open Enrollment Period)
The 2019 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is October 15th, 2018 – December 7th, 2018 for a January 1st, 2019 effective date.
What Can I do During the 2019 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
During the 2019 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period you can:
- Change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa
- Choose a different Medicare Advantage plan
- Make changes to your current Medicare Part D coverage
- Apply for Medicare Part D, although fees may be required
What Can’t I Do During the Medicare AEP?
- Enroll in Medicare Part B without a qualifying medical event
- Apply for Medicare Advantage Plans that are not in your geographic region
- Make changes between your Medicare plans without answering medical questions
When You Want to Change Your Plan
- Significant premium increase
- Doctor no longer in your Medicare Advantage plan network
- Medications are no longer covered
Your Annual Notice of Change letter will let you know all of the above.
Is My Medicare Supplement Plan Benefits Changing?
No, your Medicare Supplement plan benefits do not change like Part D plans. All plan benefits are standardized by the government, this means your plan will continue to cover the same benefits from year to year.
However, Medicare Supplement plans do have rate increases annually. Rate increases happen on your policy anniversary date. Your carrier will send you a notice of increase letter in the mail the month prior to your anniversary date.
Shopping Medicare Supplements During AEP
Sure, you can do that! A lot of beneficiaries knock two birds out with one stone by comparing Part D plans and Medicare Supplements at the same time. Since benefits are standardized, you don’t have to be afraid of switching carriers since your benefits will be the same.
The only thing different between carriers and plans is the amount they charge you in monthly premiums. Once carrier may charge you more for the same exact benefits. Comparing other carrier premiums to make sure you’re not overpaying is completely your choice.
Keep in mind, unless you have a special circumstance that grants you guaranteed issue, you’ll have to answer health questions when switching your Medicare Supplement plan during AEP. You can only change your Medicare Advantage and Part D plans during this time without answering health questions.
What is the 2019 Medicare Annual Election Period?
Annual Election Period is commonly, and incorrectly, referred to as the Open Enrollment Period. Each year, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage Plan or your Prescription Drug Plan during the 2019 Annual Election Period.
Who is Medicare Open Enrollment for?
Any Medicare beneficiary enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B can switch or enroll into Medicare Part C or D plans during the Open Enrollment Period.
Who qualifies for Medicare Open Enrollment?
Any Medicare beneficiary enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B will be eligible for a plan change during the Open Enrollment Period.
When does the Medicare Open Enrollment Start and End?
The 2019 Medicare Open Enrollment Period deadline for coverage starting in January 2019 ends on December 7, 2018.
What if I missed the Medicare Open Election Period?
If you missed the Medicare Open Election Period, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. Licensed Insurance agents can help identify your eligibility for coverage.
What is the difference between Medicare Open Enrollment and Annual Election Period?
These two phrases are often used interchangeably. The Medicare Annual Election period occurs every year, so some sources will refer to it as the Open Enrollment Period.
When is the General Enrollment Period for Medicare Part B?
The General Enrollment Period for Medicare Part A and B begin on January 1st and end on March 31st of each year. The federal Medicare coverage will begin on July 1st of the same year.
When is the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment?
It is ideal to buy your Medigap policy during your 6-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period. During this time, you can buy any Medicare supplement policy sold in your state, even if you have health problems.
This period automatically starts the month you turn 65 and enrolled into Medicare Part B. If you wait until after this time, you may not be able to buy a Medicare Supplement and if you are able to purchase one, it could cost more than if you purchased during this time.
Can I get help with the Medicare Open Enrollment process?
Talk to an Agent About the Upcoming 2019 Medicare Annual Election Period Today. It’s important to be aware of all the options available to you during the Medicare Annual Election period. There are a great number of different plans available, but only certain ones will give you the coverage you need.
The Different Enrollment Periods Explained
There are several types of enrollment periods that you need to remember. Knowledge is power; if you are aware of the opportunities available to you then there is possibility for a better plan, financial savings and higher quality of health care.
Special Election Period (SEP)
Special Election Periods give you the chance to enroll into a new plan outside of the normal enrollment periods. There are many different types of events that would qualify you for a Special Election Period.
The SEP allows you to enroll into or change your plan when certain life event occurs, the rules for each different SEP depend on the one you qualify for, a licensed insurance agent will help you determine if you are eligible for a Special Election Period.
General Enrollment Period
The Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP) is for those that need to enroll in Medicare Parts A and B. Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for Part A and/or Part B during the General Enrollment Period between January 1st and March 31st each year, if both of the following are applicable:
- You did not sign up when you were first eligible.
- You aren’t eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.
Medicare Part A and Part B premiums must be paid, and the coverage will be effective July 1st. Keep in mind that you may pay higher premium for late enrollment into Parts A and B.
Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)
When you are first eligible for Medicare, there is a 7-month period that you are eligible to enroll into the federal Medicare program. The 7-month window includes the 3 months before you turn 65, the month of your birthday, and the 3 months after your birthday.
Talking to an agent before you turn 65 will give you the chance to understand Medicare and be confident in your plan selection throughout the future of your health care.
Our insurance agents work for multiple companies, speaking with them will allow you to have quality consulting instead of someone trying to sell you only one plan.
The New Medicare OEP
As if the different enrollment periods are not already confusing enough, there’s a big change starting in 2019. It’s the return of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period.
Wait, is that not what we’re talking about now? As stated above, the correct term for the enrollment period we’re talking about is Annual Election Period, or Annual Enrollment Period, that runs from October 15th – December 7th.
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries who want to switch to another Advantage plan or switch back to Original Medicare and enroll in Part D and/or Medigap. This period is from January 1st – March 31st.
How to Get Help During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period
We’re here to help you, we created an AEP checklist that you can read here. There’s a huge demand for guidance each year during AEP, and our agents are standing by to help you today. Call the number above to compare rates or fill out or compare rate forms online now.