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What is Annual Enrollment vs. Open Enrollment?

Did you make a change during Annual Enrollment Period (the election period that begins on October 15th and runs until December 7th)? If so, it is important that you know that there is a second election period called Open Enrollment Period that allows people who either made the switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan or switched their Medicare Advantage Plan to make one more change if they aren't happy with the switch or didn't fully understand the change they were making. Open Enrollment Period runs from January 1 through March 31st and you may only utilize it if you have a Medicare Advantage Plan. You cannot change from Original Medicare to a MAPD at this time.

If you are interested in dis-enrolling from the Medicare Advantage Plan and go back to Original Medicare at this time, you are allowed to do so and in addition, you will be entitled to a Prescription Drug plan, as drug coverage is not provided with Original Medicare. If you are making the switch back to Original Medicare, you may also want to consider a Medicare Supplement plan to help with additional costs that Medicare doesn't cover, specifically the 20% you as a beneficiary are responsible for.  However it is important to note that you may not have a guaranteed right to buy a plan at this time and could have to health qualify.

If going back to Medicare is what you are looking to do during OEP, please note that if you had a Medicare Supplement policy for the prior year and want to make sure you have one when you switch back to Medicare, do NOT enroll in a prescription drug plan before you receive written documentation that your supplement is approved.  If you do enroll in a Prescription Drug plan first and do not qualify for a supplement, you will be automatically disenrolled from your Medicare Advantage Plan and will be on the hook for 20% of medical related costs (Medicare covers 80%) such as deductibles, copays, etc.

If you feel unsettled or unhappy with a decision or change you made during Annual Enrollment Period, I would encourage you to reach out to a local professional that you can set up a face to face appointment with. Generally, these changes are complicated and consulting with a professional can only help you better understand your specific situation.

Senior Insurance Solutions is a locally owned brokerage specializing in Medicare planning. If you would like to set up an appointment, feel free to reach out to us!

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