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Medicare Plan Enrollment: Different Plans, Different Enrollment Options

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Each type of Medicare Plan is different and has its own set of rules and requirements.  Knowing what the options are for getting a new plan as well as shopping options to change a plan can be so confusing! Here is a quick guide to the available types of Medicare products and when you are able to enroll/dis-enroll/switch a plan!

Medicare Supplement Plans (Part B)

Enrolling in or changing a Medicare Supplement Plan is a very simple process with little to no restriction! You are able to enroll in, cancel or change a Medicare Supplement plan at any time.    These plans are not subject to an enrollment or dis-enrollment period limitation.  However, changing from one plan to a different Medicare Supplement Plan would be subject to application approval of the new policy.

Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C)

 Medicare Advantage Plans are easily the most confusing when enrolling in, changing or dis-enrolling from a plan!!  There are several different yearly windows to take into consideration:
  • Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP): this is the eligibility period that begins 3 months before an individual’s 65th birthday and ends 3 months after.  During this 6 month period someone may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Annual Election Period (AEP): often referred to as “Open Enrollment” this is the time for anyone currently in a Medicare Advantage Plan to change their plan should they choose to. Changes would then go into affect January 1st of the proceeding year. Annual Election Period is from October 15th – December 7th each year.
  • Special Election Period (SEP): certain circumstances allow an individual to change their plan at any given time during the year outside of the Annual Election Period.  These circumstances could include:
    • moving to a new address where the current plan is not offered
    • loosing current coverage
    • changes in the current plan (only in specific cases)
  • Medicare Advantage Dis-enrollment (MADP): this is the period in which those who have a Medicare Advantage Plan can cancel/dis-enroll from that plan and return to Original Medicare (Part A & B). The purchase of a Prescription Drug Plan would be required in this case in order to avoid penalty. Medicare Advantage Dis-enrollment is from January 1st – February 14.
Need more information about the different “PARTS” of Medicare, no problem! Take a look at THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF MEDICARE post.

Prescription Drug Plans (Part D)

Prescription Drug Plans, which are designed to accompany a Medicare Supplement Plan (Part B), have a few different enrollment periods that apply.  These enrollment periods are very much the same as those of Medicare Advantage Plans.
  • Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP): this is the eligibility period that begins 3 months before an individual’s 65th birthday and ends 3 months after.  During this 6 month period someone may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Annual Election Period (AEP): often referred to as “Open Enrollment” this is the time for anyone currently in a Prescription Drug Plans to change their plan should they choose to. Changes would then go into affect January 1st of the proceeding year. Annual Election Period is from October 15th – December 7th each year.  Prescription Drug Coverage is required and failing to obtain it can result in a penalty. 
Need more information on Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) Plans? Take a look at the MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG PLANS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW! post.

As always, if you have any other questions, concerns or would like to explore your coverage options contact us today! Our knowledgeable agents are available to help you in any way possible as you navigate the process of investigating and securing the coverage that you need!


E. Steele

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