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How to Make Sure Your Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Goes Smoothly

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Whether you’re turning 65 and enrolling in Medicare for the first time or you’re already enrolled in Medicare and want to make changes, the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is an important time of year. Here are some suggestions that’ll help you get prepared, so you can make the most of it.

If you’re new to Medicare:

  1. Confirm you’re eligible to participate in the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.
  2. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period happens at the same time every year, October 15 through December 7. Coverage for any enrollments made during this window typically starts January 1 of the next year. If you’re new to Medicare and turning 65, these steps are a good place to start. Medicare eligibility isn’t just for individuals 65 and over. Not sure if you’re eligible? Read this article to learn more about eligibility criteria.

  3. Compare what you’re eligible for with the care and services you need.
  4. Original Medicare includes Part A and Part B. Most people don’t have to pay for Medicare Part A which covers inpatient hospital services and care. Medicare Part B premiums vary and cover outpatient care, such as doctor visits, lab tests, ambulance services and medical equipment. Depending on your health, needs, budget and lifestyle this may be all the coverage you need.

    If you take medications, wear glasses or hearing aids, or need dental work, these aren’t covered under Medicare Parts A and B, so you might want to consider a Medicare Advantage Plan. All of these convenient plans include everything covered in Medicare Parts A and B, and many also cover hearing, vision, dental, and prescription drugs. Some even have $0 premiums, co-pays and deductibles, however you have to continue to pay the Medicare Part B premium.

    If you still have questions or concerns, review our Medicare Enrollment Guide that includes plans, benefits, FAQs, resources and more.

  5. Understand what other benefits are available.
  6. Certain circumstances, such as having a disability or low income, may qualify you for special plans and programs that include benefits such as transportation, meal delivery, or extra help with prescription drugs.

If you’re currently enrolled:

  1. Review your Annual Notice of Change from your current insurance providers.
  2. If you’re currently enrolled in a Medicare plan, such as a Medicare Supplement or Medicare Advantage Plan, you’re not required to make any changes during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. But life changes, so it stands to reason your needs may change from year to year. You should receive a letter in September from your current provider that summarizes planned changes for the upcoming year. It’s important that you read this carefully to clearly understand what may be changing. Changes may include higher costs, changes in a physician’s in-network status or a change in benefits.

  3. Decide if your existing coverage still meets your needs.
  4. Once you’re clear on changes, if any, to your current Medicare plan, you can determine if that plan still meets your needs. If your needs have changed or upcoming plan changes aren’t a good fit, you can decide to switch or drop your current plan during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Don’t forget to consider both recent and possible future changes in your health, budget and lifestyle.

  5. Compare plans.
  6. Set aside plenty of time before the start of the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period to research and compare plans against your current Medicare plan. Contacting a licensed agent can be helpful but, keep in mind, many represent only one carrier. This may not give you a complete picture of all your options.

    You can quickly and easily find, compare, and enroll in plans on our Medicare Online Enrollment Portal.

Get Medicare enrollment help during your Medicare Annual Enrollment Period.

Whether you’re new to Medicare or looking to switch plans during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, you don’t have to go it alone. Our licensed agents represent a number of respected carriers and can help you find, evaluate, and enroll in plans in your area. For assistance, call 1-800-991-4407 / TTY 711 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday.