If you have a Medicare Supplement plan (also knows as Medigap), then you can switch plans anytime of year. Many people mistakenly believe they can only switch Medigap plans or carriers during the Annual Election Period (from October 15 to December 7 each year).
The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is the time of year to switch (if it makes sense) to a new Prescription Drug Plan or Medicare Advantage plan. The effective date for the new plan is January 1. Both Part C – Medicare Advantage plans – and Part D – Prescription Drug Plans – are based on a calendar year. It always a good idea to reevaluate your plan options each year during AEP.
The Unique Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period
To read more about the unique Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, please click here to read an article entitled, Here’s What You Need to Know About Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment.
I’m not a huge fan of articles by The Motley Fool because the purpose of their articles is to try to entice you into clicking on their “special report” about some Social Security mistake. However, sometimes they have informative articles prior to the “hook” at the end.
More About the Annual Election Period
Even if you are happy with your plan and nothing has changed with your health or medications, it still is smart to check out your options. Sometimes, the benefits or premiums change and you could do much better with a new plan. Premiums for both plans are relatively stable, but in recent years we have seen some plans more than double in premium.
You will receive a notice from your insurance company in mid to late September regarding any changes to your plan. It’s called the Annual Notice of Change letter and it’s important to read. Frequently Medicare recipients overlook the letter of gloss over it. Take some time to review the changes that will be made for the following year. Sometimes, plans will not renew and you are required to enroll in a new plan.
It’s not uncommon for a fairly expensive Tier 3 medication switch to Tier 4. That could result in hundreds of dollars in additional out-of-pocket costs. Sometimes, your brand-name drug could be much less with another drug plan. So, checking other options can be a real money-saver.
Discuss Your Situation with an Agent
We reach out to our clients every year in early October so they have the opportunity to review their coverage options for the following plan year. During the months of August and September, we learn about all the new plan changes and how it might affect policyholders.
Some of our clients like to do their own homework, but most appreciate the advice and guidance of a professional (at no cost) so they make sure they’re making the best possible decision.
If you would like to evaluate your plan options, please call 678-236-1600 and we’ll be glad to help.