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Medicare Annual Enrollment Period: The Most Common Mistakes Made

Common Mistakes
1. Failing to read the Annual Notice of Change

People who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan, in September, will receive an important document called the Annual Notice of Change. The document arrives via mail prior to the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (also known as AEP), which is October 15th to December 7th.

The Annual Notice of Change identifies what changes the plan will make to its coverage and its costs for the upcoming year. This gives individuals the opportunity to compare their current plan with other plans, helping them make a more-informed decision during the Annual Enrollment Period. It is important for people enrolled in Medicare plans to always review this document thoroughly. Not being aware of important plan changes or costs changes can bring an unwelcomed surprise after January 1st. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is made to increase individual flexibility when it comes to selecting plans and overall Medicare coverage.

2. Not understanding enrollment periods

Another common mistake that people make during AEP is that they think the Annual Enrollment Period (October 15th to December 7th) is people often think that the only time they can enroll in a Medicare plan is during this period. However, this is not the case. If someone is new to Medicare (turning 65) there is an initial enrollment period surrounding their birth in which they can enroll. In addition, there are many special circumstances that allow people to enroll during what is called a Special Enrollment Period.

3. Once enrolled in a Medicare Plan, individuals absolutely have to change their plan during AEP

If individuals have read the annual notice of change (including coverage/costs of upcoming year) and are happy with their current Medicare plan, they do not have to re-enroll during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (October 15th to December 7th). However, just remember that AEP happens once every year and changes cannot be made until the next AEP (unless a person qualifies for Special Enrollment Period). Choose wisely!

4. People not signing up for Medicare Part D because they do not take prescription drugs

Accidents happen and health issues develop. Never count out Medicare Part D. If a person falls ill, medications can become expensive (could cost thousands of dollars a month). Part D provides people with coverage for prescriptions and it is important for people to add or switch their Part D plans during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (October 15th to December 7th). Remember, AEP happens only once a year.

  • To learn more about Medicare and Turning 65, click here.
  • To learn more about Medicare Extra Help and Prescription Drug plans, click here.
  • To learn more about the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, click here.
  • To learn more about Medicare Part D Prescription Drug plans, click here.