Medicare Annual Election Period: October 15 – December 7
With the rising costs of health insurance and medical expenses at the forefront of the news, many people are wondering how they are going to afford to pay for their medical expenses. This is especially true for those people who are over the age of 65 or on Social Security Disability. Many live on a fixed income and do not have the financial resources to cover all of their medical expenses.
Although most US citizens who are 65 years or older qualify for Medicare, this does not cover all of the costs. This is why there are Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans available. The Medicare Annual Election Period is one time during the year when a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plan can be purchased or changed. There may be Special Enrollment Periods where individuals under certain circumstance can also enroll without being forced to go through the underwriting approval process.
In addition, the Annual Election Period does not apply to Medicare supplement plans. The AEP is specific to Medicare Advantage plans and Prescription Drug Plans, or a Medicare Advantage Plan that includes prescription drug coverage.
The Basics of Medicare Advantage Plans
Medicare is an insurance program funded by the Federal Government for those who have reached the age of 65. Certain other people may qualify for Medicare, such as those with disabilities or who have been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. The most commonly known Medicare Parts are Parts A and B, which cover inpatient or outpatient services respectively.
Original Medicare alone can leave beneficiaries with high out of pocket expenses. Therefore, many private insurance companies now offer Medicare supplement plans and Medicare Advantage plans. With a variety to choose from, there are several different ways people can defray some of the medical costs associated with Original Medicare only. Medicare Part C (or Medicare Advantage) takes the place of Medicare and can provide additional benefits such as dental and vision.
Some Medicare Advantage plans also cover the cost of prescription drugs, which traditional Medicare does not. Since there are several different types of Medicare Advantage Plans, consumers can choose whether this coverage is included.
Medicare Advantage plans can be purchased through Medicare-approved insurance companies, and often include the popular Silver Sneakers program. This program encourages increased physical activity for seniors by providing access to fitness centers at no additional cost. For more information on the types of Medicare Advantage plans available, visit our Advantage Plans page.
When to Apply
Whichever plan is purchased, there are some important dates to keep in mind. There is an Annual Election Period (AEP) when any current Medicare recipient can either purchase or change a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan. AEP begins on October 15 and ends on December 7. Any policies purchased within this time frame will begin providing coverage on January 1 of the following year.
How to Decide Which Plan is Right
In order to decide whether changes to current coverage is necessary, it is often necessary to talk to an insurance expert to discuss the different plans available. MediGap Advisors is pleased to offer the services of a Personal Benefits Manager to help make the decision about what coverage is needed.
Personal Benefits Manager also help with the application process, and can answer any questions. They are available at no cost or obligation to you, and have years of expertise in the field of Medicare coverage. Call us at 1-800-913-3416 to talk to one of our Personal Benefits Manager today. You can also request a Personal Benefits Manager to contact you. You also have the option to receive a quote to compare plans and decide which one is right for you. To take advantage of this free service, visit our instant quote page.