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7 Important Facts About the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

medicare-aep-facts

    The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is a critical time of year for Medicare beneficiaries. Here are the facts you need to know.

  1. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is the only guaranteed yearly enrollment period for Medicare Advantage plans.
  2. Enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans is limited to certain enrollment periods. These include the Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) when you turn 65 and Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs), which only occur when you’re eligible through special circumstances.

    The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is the only regular opportunity for Medicare beneficiaries to join a Medicare Advantage plan, so if you’re interested in joining or changing plans, it’s important not to miss it.

  3. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Is from October 15 through December 7.
  4. Enrollments during the Annual Enrollment Period typically begin coverage on January 1 of the next year.

  5. All Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B are eligible to participate in the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.
  6. If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, you’re likely eligible to enroll in Medicare plans during the Annual Enrollment Period. If you won’t be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B during the Annual Enrollment Period, you’ll have an opportunity to join Medicare plans during your Initial Enrollment Period when you turn 65.

  7. Individuals can enroll in, drop, or change Medicare Advantage plans.
  8. During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, you can:

    • Join a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time
    • Drop the Medicare Advantage plan you’re currently enrolled in
    • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  9. Changing plans during the Annual Enrollment Period is not required.
  10. You aren’t required to change anything about your Medicare coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period. Joining, dropping, or swapping plans is entirely optional.

  11. Insurance providers announce changes to their plans before the Annual Enrollment Period.
  12. The benefits, costs, and terms of Medicare plans can change each year. Providers announce these changes in September and plan participants receive a letter with notification of these changes.

    Circumstances change, so this announcement provides an opportunity to consider whether your current plan is still the best fit for you. It also ensures you have up-to-date information about the plans if you conduct research during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.

  13. You can get help during AEP.
  14. You don’t have to tackle the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period alone. Our Medicare Advocates are available by phone during this time and throughout the year to assist you in finding plans in your area, evaluating for best fit, and enrolling. To speak with a Medicare Advocate, call 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711. Our typical hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, but we have extended weekday and Saturday hours during the Annual Enrollment Period.

    You can also find, compare, and enroll in a plan through our Medicare Online Enrollment Portal, which is open 24/7 for your convenience.