The best way for individuals who have Medicare coverage to ensure that you receive the best value possible is to compare the different plans prior to switching during the 2014 AEP or Annual Enrollment Period. There are four parts of Medicare Insurance Plans which includes Parts A, B, C/Medicare Advantage, and D. The AEP does not apply to those individuals who already have Medicare supplement insurance. However, they are not restricted from switching during the AEP period, especially if they benefit from switching.
Whether you currently have Medicare coverage, a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, or Part D (prescription drug) coverage, you have one opportunity to make the changes you desire once per year during the AEP. That period is referred to as Medicare’s Annual Election Period or the Open Enrollment period. The AEP begins on the 15th of October and ends on Pearl Harbor Day, 2013 (December 7th). Any changes that you opt for will go into effect on the 1st of January, 2014.
The AEP is beneficial to individuals covered by any Medicare insurance plans because it gives them the opportunity to make any changes they wish to their coverage every year if they so desire. This means that you can make these changes as your personal needs change. Therefore, you should at least examine those options prior to the AEP each year in order to ensure that you have a plan that effectively addresses those needs.
You should ask yourself certain questions when reviewing your current coverages prior to the Annual Enrollment Period. For instance, in the past year, were you diagnosed with any type of long-term illness or medical conditions or did any of your prescription medications change this past year? If the answer to this is “YES”, you should take a closer look at your current coverage and consider making changes that you will benefit from during the AEP when you have the opportunity to do so.
If you have a Medicare supplement plan than AEP is not for you. You have no restrictions on the time of year you can review your current plan and switch plans if desired. It is important to compare Medicare supplement plans to any Medicare Advantage plan so you understand the difference. Contacting an independent insurance agent that specializes in Medicare can help you make sense of it all.
In closing, you should also remember that Medicare plans change with considerable regularity and so do their costs. As an example of this, the price of your current plan can decrease or increase each year. Or, if you have a Plan D prescription drug plan, medications may be added or discontinued on a regular basis. Finally, benefits may change frequently while other Medicare plans may stop offering coverage based on your geographic location.