Medicare Annual Election Period Runs October 15th to December 7th

Medicare Annual Election Period Runs October 15th to December 7th

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Are you looking to make changes to your medicare coverage? There are only certain times when you can make these changes, and they are dependent on the type of Medicare plan. For Medicare Advantage (also known as Medicare Part C) and Medicare prescription drug plans, there's an Annual Election Period (AEP) when you can sign up for, change, or disenroll from the plan.

The AEP runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. If you didn't sign up for one of these plans when you first became eligible for Medicare, then this is the time for you to make these changes!

What Changes Can You Make During The AEP?

Here's a quick rundown of what you can do during the Annual Enrollment Period:

  • Change to a Medicare Advantage plan from Original Medicare, Part A or Part B.

  • Change from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare, Part A or Part B.

  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.

  • Enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan.

  • Change from one Medicare prescription drug plan to another.

  • Opt out of Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

Changes you make during the 2016 AEP go into effect January 1 of 2017.

Can I Make Changes Outside of the AEP?

Let's say that you're enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and you want to make a switch. You're looking to move to Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. You can make this change during the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period, from January 1 to February 14 each year.

If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you will have until February 14 to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. This coverage is optional, but if you wait until a future date to add it, you could pay a penalty for late enrollment*. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after the plan gets your enrollment form.

Medicare allows changes outside the standard enrollment periods in specific situations that are often out of the beneficiary's control (such as Medicare ending its contract with your plan) through Special Election Periods, or SEPs. Other examples of these situations include moving from your plan's service area (such as to another state), receiving both Medicare and Medicaid benefits, qualifying for Extra Help, living in or moving to/from an institution such as a long-term care facility or hospital. There are other examples as well, so it's best to speak to a Medicare professional if you need to make changes outside the enrolment period.

To learn about Medicare plans you may be eligible for, you can: