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The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is Coming: Steps You Can Take Now to Prepare

medicare-annual-enrollment-period-preparation

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) occurs from October 15 through December 7. During this enrollment period, Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in, drop, or change Medicare plans. Missing the Annual Enrollment Period could leave you stuck in a Medicare plan that doesn’t meet your needs for the next coverage year.

So how can you prepare to take advantage of this critical enrollment period? We have a few tips.

Set a Reminder for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

If you don’t remember when the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is, you can’t take advantage of it. You can take this easy, vital step right now: add the enrollment period to your calendar. If you have an online or mobile calendar, set a reminder. Again, AEP begins on October 15 and ends on December 7.

Evaluate Your Medicare Coverage

Is your current Medicare coverage less-than-ideal in any way? If you have Original Medicare only, that is Parts A and B, you don’t have coverage for dental, vision or hearing. Make some notes about services like these you wish were covered, certain providers (or categories of providers) you’d like to have in-network, and benefits you currently don’t have but could use.

Understanding what you’re looking for in a Medicare plan will make it much easier to find a good-fit plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. This is your opportunity to look at affordable options that include more benefits, such as a Medicare Advantage plan.

Read Your Annual Notice of Change

Before the Annual Enrollment Period, you should receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) from your current health insurance provider. This letter will detail the changes to your plan in the coming year. Review the changes and factor them into your evaluation of what you might look for in a different plan.

List Your Doctors

Since most Medicare plans operate with a network of covered healthcare providers, making a list of your current providers will help you find a good-fit plan. Looking for your doctors in a plan’s network before enrolling helps you make an informed choice. Instead of scrambling at the last minute, take the time to make a complete, accurate list before the enrollment period.

List Your Prescriptions

Medicare plans with prescription drug coverage have formularies—a list of the covered prescription drugs and their prices. If you take any prescription drugs, these prices will likely be an important factor in your plan choice. Much like with the doctors, preparing this list will save you time and frustration when you’re evaluating plans during the enrollment period. It’s important to know that many Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage.

Get a Medicare Quote

If you really want to get ahead of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, you can even choose a Medicare plan before AEP begins. Then you simply have to complete your enrollment when the period officially opens.

You can find Medicare Advantage Plans online in your area and compare them using our Medicare Online Enrollment Portal.

You can also call and speak directly with one of our Medicare Advocates, who’ll assist you in finding plans and evaluating them against the criteria you’ve prepared. Just call 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.