As the weather changes, many of us are pulling out warmer clothes and testing them out for size. Similarly, Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period (OEP), is the time of year when you can review your health insurance benefits and drug coverage plans against others and see which plan fits you best.
To help you determine which health options will best suit your needs and help you through this decision-making process, there are several basic pieces of information you need to know about open enrollment, including:
- OPEN ENROLLMENT DATES: This year, OEP takes place between October 15- December 7, 2012.
- CHANGES YOU CAN MAKE TO YOUR PLAN: During the OEP, you may make any of the following changes:
- Switch your current Part D drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan to another carrier
- Change from traditional Medicare plus a Part D drug plan to having a Medicare Advantage plan that includes both medical and drug coverage
- Change from a Medicare Advantage plan to traditional Medicare (and add a Part D drug plan if you don’t already have drug coverage).
- REASONS TO COMPARE YOUR CURRENT MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLAN OR PART D PLAN WITH OTHER PLANS AVAILABLE:
- Premiums and/or deductibles may have changed
- Coverage for medical services or drugs may have changed
- Copays for your medical services or drugs may have changed.
- STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU KEEP YOUR CURRENT MEDICARE PLAN.
If you decide to stay in the same Part D or Medicare Advantage plan you had in 2012, you don’t need to do anything since you will automatically be re-enrolled in the plan for 2012.
- WAYS TO SIGN UP FOR A DIFFERENT MEDICARE PLAN.
There are different ways to enroll in the different parts of Medicare. Part A and B are government run, so you’ll need to contact Medicare directly (1-800-MEDICARE) for Part A if you don’t qualify for automatic enrollment. Part B of Medicare is elective, meaning enrollment is not automatic. If you are looking to receive medical benefits through Medicare Part B you must contact Social Security directly (or use the Social Security Online Benefit Application on their website to enroll).Part C, Part D, and Medicare Supplement Insurance are different since these types of plans are offered through private insurance companies. You can apply directly through the carrier of your choice, or use the help of a Licensed Medicare Specialist to do the research and help you apply. If you choose to contact our Medicare Specialists at MedicareSolutions, your service will be free of charge. We’ll even walk you through the application process and make sure your enrollment is quick and easy. Call us today at 1-800-328-7305 to get expert advice!
- THE DATE WHEN NEW COVERAGE FOR A DIFFERENT PLAN BEGINS.
If you sign up for a different plan at any time during open enrollment, your coverage will begin on January 1, 2013. Enrollment in your new plan automatically cancels your current coverage at midnight on December 31. If you change from a Part D drug plan to a Medicare Advantage plan, this automatically cancels your coverage under traditional Medicare and you will receive your Medicare benefits through the Medicare Advantage plan beginning January 1.
- WHAT TO DO IF YOU MISS THE DEC. 7 DEADLINE.
You may switch plans after open enrollment ends only in special circumstances — such as if you move outside of your current plan’s service area or move into or out of a nursing home. You can also switch plans at any time of the year if you qualify for low-cost drug coverage under Part D’s Extra Help program. If you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan, you’re allowed to switch to the traditional Medicare program (and a Part D drug plan) during a special “disenrollment” period that runs from January 1 to February 14. Finally, you can switch any time during the year into a Part D or Medicare Advantage plan that has earned Medicare’s top five-star quality rating, but only once a year.
- REASONS TO USE THE DISENROLLMENT PERIOD
If you’ve made a mistake when you make a change from a Part D drug plan to a Medicare Advantage plan, you can switch back during a “disenrollment period” that runs from January 1-Feburary 14, 2013.
For assistance in selecting a new Medicare plan that best fits your financial and health care needs, call MedicareSolutions today at 1-800-328-7305 and a licensed sales representative will assist you with a plan that best meets your needs.