Medicare Open Enrollment vs. Annual Enrollment

What is open enrollment?
Open enrollment is the time period each year when you can start, stop, or change your Medicare health insurance plan. It’s a great opportunity to make sure your healthcare coverage will meet your current needs for the upcoming year.

What can you do?
During open enrollment, you can reevaluate your coverage and do the following:

  • Cancel a Part D prescription plan.
  • Sign up for a Part D prescription plan.
  • Switch from Medicare Advantage back to Medicare.
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.

When is it?
The open enrollment window is the same time period each year. It begins on October 15th and ends on December 7th. You may be able to take advantage of an extended enrollment period if you’ve faced an emergency or disaster that has interfered with your ability to participate during the normal window.

It’s important to note that there is also a Medicare Advantage open enrollment plan, which is from January 1st to March 31st. If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can switch to a different one or switch to Original Medicare and join a separate Medicare drug plan once during this period. In addition, there is a one-time Medicare Supplement Plan open enrollment period, which occurs when you first turn 65 or enroll in Part B, whichever comes later.

Who needs to do open enrollment
Open enrollment should be on your radar if you have a Medicare plan. It’s the ideal time to review your options because plans may change every year. Keep in mind that out-of-pocket costs, covered drugs, and in-network providers and pharmacies are not set in stone.

Therefore, you should make sure your Medicare coverage for the upcoming year is right for your particular needs and make changes if necessary. If you prefer to stay with your current coverage, you don’t have to do anything.

What is annual enrollment?
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period or AEP can allow you to change your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D Plans so that they work better for you. Any changes you make will go into effect on January 1st.

What can you do
During AEP, you may do the following:

  • Switch from Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B) to a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C).
  • Change to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
  • Switch from one Prescription Drug plan (Medicare Part D) to another or enroll in a Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan.
  • Add a Prescription Drug plan if you didn’t enroll in one initially.

When is it
The Medicare AEP occurs between October 15th and December 7th.

Who needs to do annual enrollment
Annual enrollment is important if you have current Medicare coverage. It can give you the opportunity to ensure your healthcare coverage will suit your needs for the upcoming year. Even if you’re happy with your plan, you should use this time to compare all the coverage options and prices at your disposal. Otherwise you may be missing out on benefits that you need.

Contact MAIR Agency Today
If you’re interested in learning more about these periods or would like to find the right health insurance plan for your unique situation, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process.

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We were contracted by Blue Cross NC in 1996 and quickly became an Exclusive Presidents Club Agency for them, maintaining this top producing agency level year after year. We are honored to receive the #1 Medicare Agency in North Carolina for two years in a row.

This award and acknowledgment requires much more than selling a product. This recognition requires our agency to exhibit unsurpassed customer service as well as provide advisors/agents that are consistently the most informed, educated and best support-arm for you, our clients.

We thank our existing clients for having the faith and trust in us that brought us to this achievement. For those of you approaching the need to now benefit from the Medicare you supported for many years with your tax dollars, and maybe some of you that wonder if you have made the best choices in the past, we welcome you to give The Mair Agency an opportunity to meet you. We will ensure you have complete knowledge of all your options and perhaps become a family member of the #1 agency in North Carolina with BlueCross and BlueShield.