Medicare’s Annual Election Period starts every OCTOBER 15th and ends DECEMBER 7th. Some people call this “open enrollment” but the official name for it is Annual Election Period or AEP for short. It is the designated time for switching most Medicare Insurance plans or signing up for additional drug or medical coverage for the first time.
Who is AEP Open Enrollment for?
Annual Election Period is for those who want to make sure they are on the best Medicare insurance plan at the best price. If you are unhappy with your Medicare Advantage Plan or stand alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), this is the time to fix it. AEP Open Enrollment is for people who are looking for:
- lower prices
- larger doctor networks
- better drug coverage
If you have missed deadlines or are signing up for additional coverage for the first time, AEP is also for you. You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan or PDP for the first time during AEP but you may be subject to a late penalty.
Regardless of your situation, it never hurts to compare prices
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Note: We do not offer every plan available in your area. Any information we provide is limited to those plans we do offer in your area. Please contact Medicare.gov or 1-800-MEDICARE to get information on all of your options.
Check Your AEP Situation Below
I want to change to a new Medicare Advantage plan
As you know, Medicare Advantage plans are plans offered by private companies with, at a minimum, equivalent benefits to Original Medicare.
Your Medicare Advantage plan benefits can change benefits or providers each year. Just because you are currently enrolled on a MA plan, does not mean you are stuck with it for life. If you are not completely satisfied with your plan, you can easily change it during AEP. Each year during AEP open enrollment (Oct 15 – Dec 7) you have the right to change plans to another company, and you are guaranteed to be approved.
I want to switch to a new Medicare Part D drug plan
If your monthly Part D premium has increased or a drug you are taking is no longer covered, AEP open enrollment is the time to switch plans. The law states that you are able to switch to any Part D drug provider between Oct 15 and Dec 7th and you are guaranteed to be approved at the best rate with no medical questions asked. If you do switch during open enrollment, your new plan will begin on Jan 1 of the following year.
Since every Part D drug plan covers different drugs with different deductibles and copays, it is often hard to tell which plan is best. Use our New MedicareAPP to compare and enroll in Part D drug plans.
I want to leave Medicare Advantage and get Medigap
If you currently have a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan and want to switch to Medigap plan, it is possible to do this during this AEP period. While not expressly designed for switching to Medigap, AEP allows you to disenroll in your current MA plan which you will need to do if you want to move to Medigap.
Enrollment in a new Meidgap plan, however, is not guaranteed. You may have to answer some health questions before accepted on a new Medigap plan.
Since Medigap does not include drug coverage, you may also want to apply for a Part D Drug plan at this time. Applying for Medigap and Part D drugs during open enrollment will allow you to start both on Jan 1st. For those who currently have a Medicare Advantage plan, enrollment in a stand alone PDP plan will disenroll you from your old Medicare Advantage plan. Warning: If you apply in the wrong order, you could end up being turned down for Medigap and end up cancelling your MA plan.
It sounds tricky but we can help you switch from MA to a Medigap a plan. Call us at 800-930-7956 and we can help you identify the right plans and ensure you avoid a gap in coverage.
Note: You are able to switch your MA plan to Medigap without health review if you have special circumstances such as:
- You have had your MA plan for less than one year
- You moved out of your MA coverage area
- You plan is being discontinued
Check out our long list of ways you can switch Medicare plans without going through Medical Underwriting. Call us to see if you qualify for these or other related special circumstances.
Prefer to do the whole process over the phone? Call Senior65.com at 800-930-7956.
I’m signing up for a Medicare insurance for the first time
If you’ve just turned 65, we have built the Medicare Deadline Calculator to help you figure out your initial enrollment period for Medicare Insurance.
If you missed the deadline to sign up for Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D Drug, you can use AEP to sign up for plans for the first time. You are guaranteed to be approved but you may be subject to late enrollment penalties.
Those who are looking for a Medicare Supplement Plan (Medigap) outside their initial enrollment period will not have penalties, but may have to answer some medical questions before approval. Use this time to also sign up for a drug plan as Medigap does not have prescription drug coverage at the pharmacy.
My AEP Enrollment Situation is Unique
We get it! At Senior65.com we know that not everyone’s Medicare needs fit into neat pre-defined boxes. Call us with your situation and we will guide you during open enrollment to the best plan at the right price.
Remember: There is no hidden fee or cost to work with a licensed Senior65.com team-member!
Call Senior65.com at 800-930-7956.
What About Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period?
There is a completely separate Open Enrollment Period (OEP) for Medicare Advantage. It runs from Jan 1 to March 31st each year. It is specifically for switching MA plans or leaving MA and returning to Original Medicare. You can learn more about the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period here.