Significant Medicare Dates to Remember Each Year
Medicare can be confusing for a lot of us. When you first enrolled at age 65, you decided between Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. And after that, there were more decisions to be made. But now that you’re enrolled, you’re not stuck in the same plan forever. Each year, Medicare gives you the opportunity to assess how your plan is working for you and make changes if necessary.
That’s a good thing, because your healthcare needs and budget will probably change over time. But coverage decisions can also feel like a burden. Keep track of the following dates and you won’t forget any of these opportunities when they’re available to you.
September to October each year. Your Medicare plan administrator will send you an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC). This letter will inform you of any upcoming changes to your plan, so that you can evaluate other options if your plan will no longer work for you. Read it carefully, because if you don’t make a change you will be automatically re-enrolled into the same plan next year.
October 15 to December 7 each year. Medicare operates their Annual Election Period at this time. After evaluating how well your current plan is working for you, you can switch to a new one if necessary. Medicare AEP allows enrollment into Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans, and Part D (prescription) plans.
January 1 each year. This is the start of the new coverage year. If you’ve enrolled into a new plan, it begins on the first day of the year.
January 1 to March 31 each year. At this time, Medicare Advantage operates their Open Enrollment Period. If you’re enrolled in an Advantage plan, you can switch to a different one. You can also drop Advantage and go back to Original Medicare. If you do that, you can add a Part D plan.
However, those enrolled in Original Medicare at the first of the year cannot participate in Open Enrollment.
Mark these dates on your calendar each year, so you can stay organized with regard to your healthcare coverage. And remember, free help is always available to you. Give us a call, and we can help you evaluate your Annual Notice of Change, compare other policies available to you, and decide which one will best provide for your healthcare needs.