Medicare Open Enrollment 2017 is right around the corner, but what is it? And, what does it mean to you? Medicare Open Enrollment, also known as Medicare’s Annual Election Period, runs each year from October 15th thru December 7th. Let us explain what you can and cannot do during this period.
What Can I Do During Open Enrollment 2017?
During Open Enrollment Medicare, which runs from October 15 thru December 7 for a January 1st effective date, you can switch your Part D or Medicare Advantage plan. You never have to answer to fill out a medical questionnaire to be enrolled -the only two exceptions with Medicare Advantage are if you are currently in a Long Term Care Facility or if you have End Stage Renal Disease (these are the two cases you cannot enroll in an MA plan).
What Can’t I Do During Open Enrollment 2017?
During Medicare Open Enrollment 2017 you cannot do the following:
- Switch from Medigap plan to another Medigap plan without answering medical questions
- Enroll in Part B for the first time, unless you have a qualifying event (call us at 800-930-7956 to learn more)
- Switch from Medicare Advantage to Medigap without answering medical questions
Why is Medicare’s Open Enrollment Important?
Did you know that a Medicare Advantage plan or Part D can change their drug formularies each year. So, in 2016 your drug may be covered, but that same company in 2017 may not cover that drug, or they can charge more. As well as, your Medicare Advantage plan is not federally standardized like Medicare Supplement plans (Medigap), and therefore they can change their network of providers, change they way they cover a medical service, and/or drop additional benefits like dental, vision, and hearing.
Bottom line, you will want to look over your Medicare Advantage and Part D plans every Open Enrollment. We know it’s a bit more work, but if you don’t, you could end up spending a lot more money than you would need to. Good reason? We think so.
Can I Switch My Drug or MA plan outside of Open Enrollment?
The answer is maybe. If you haven’t moved out of your provider’s area, or your company did not mislead you, then the only way to switch your drug or Medicare Advantage Plan outside of Open Enrollment is if you find a Medicare 5-star rated plan. The tricky part is 5-star rated plans are like unicorns, people talk about them, but they are rarely seen. If you would like help finding a 5-star plan call our licensed independent insurance agents at 800-930-7956.
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