Every year from October 15 to December 7, Medicare beneficiaries have the option to make changes to their Medicare plans during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP).
There are four basic changes you can make to your Medicare plan during this time period:
- Change your Part D prescription drug plan
- Change your Medicare Advantage plan
- Switch back to Original Medicare
- Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time
Any changes made during the AEP will apply to your coverage on January 1 of the following year.
The reason that Medicare gives you the option to change plans every year is because Medicare plans themselves can change every year. Medicare has 1-year contracts with the private insurance companies that provide the Medicare Advantage and Part D plans and these contracts can be renewed, changed, or even cancelled from year to year. Your insurance company should send you any changes that have been made to your plan for the next year in the form of an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) before the enrollment period begins.
Here are five reasons why you might want to switch plans from year to year:
- You are not satisfied with your current plan
- Your health has changed and a different plan may better accommodate your needs
- You are in a different position financially
- Your current plan is changing and may no longer provide the best coverage and benefits for you
- Your preferred health-care providers no longer accept your plan
It’s important to re-evaluate your Medicare plan annually to make sure that the plan you have is still the best one for you. If you have any questions or need help reviewing your plan, we can help.