by Diana Wisniewski
Medicare Enrollments Periods continue to be a mystery to most Medicare Beneficiaries. As the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is approaching rapidly, AMAC is committed to helping our members handle this enrollment period with ease, as it can be a trying time. Enrollments will begin on October 15th. The sooner you have determined the 2013 plan that suits your needs, the sooner you can enroll, thus avoiding the congestion of calls in the last two weeks of this enrollment period. AMAC has worked diligently all year to build up our in-house Medicare department to handle the volume of calls expected this coming AEP.
***Please note that Supplements (aka Medigap Policies) ARE NOT subject to these enrollment periods, and have all year round enrollment periods. Please see below for further details.
For Medicare Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Plans:
Period (AEP): October
15th – December 7th
|***The AEP “Annual Enrollment Period” (aka Open Enrollment) is approaching fast.*** This is the near 8 week span in which Medicare beneficiaries can enroll into new or different Advantage Plans (MA/MAPD) and their Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) for the upcoming year. You can enroll into an Advantage plan for the first time, or decide not to elect and Advantage Plan for 2013 and revert back to Original Medicare (A & B). In this year’s case you will be making changes that become effective 1/1/2013.
January 1st – February
|This is the period in which beneficiaries who are enrolled into an Advantage Plan can disenroll from the plan and revert back to Original Medicare (A & B). You may apply for a standalone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) by February14th. You may also apply for a Supplement Policy (Medigap). Please keep in mind that beneficiaries applying for a Supplement may be subject to medical underwriting during this period and can be declined for coverage.
Election Period/ Initial
|This enrollment period is for newly eligible Medicare Beneficiaries. When you first turn 65, or are first eligible for Part B if receiving Medicare due to Disability, you have a 7 month window to enroll into an Advantage Plan and/or a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan. You have the three months BEFORE turning 65, the month you turn 65, and the three months AFTER turning 65 (or your Part B effective date if on Disability) to enroll into an Advantage Plan and/or a Prescription Drug Plan. If you do not enroll during this 7 month window, you will have to wait until the AEP to enroll into a plan. Please be aware that if you delay your Part B because you are continuing to work and have medical coverage through your job, when you do decide to start your Part B coverage, your ICEP/IEP is now shortened to the 3 months BEFORE your Part B effective date.
|The Key word here is “SPECIAL.” If you have a special circumstance, such as moving out of a plan’s service area, or an involuntary loss of employer coverage because you are retiring at the age of 65 or older, than you may qualify for an SEP. There are many other circumstances which may make you eligible for an SEP. The length of the SEP can vary based on the circumstance. If you have enrolled into an Advantage Plan for the first time in your life during ICEP, or have dropped a Medigap policy to go into an Advantage
Plan for the first time in your life, you have an SEP which lasts for the first 12 months of your enrollment in the Advantage Plan. This allows you to revert back to Original Medicare, enroll into a Medigap policy without being underwritten (though you may be subject to a higher premium due to age), and purchase a prescription drug plan.
|Open Enrollment Period
|This is a continuous enrollment period for people going in to or leaving an institution like a nursing home or skilled nursing facility. The OEPI ends two months after the beneficiary moves out of the institution.
Supplements (Medigap Policies)
||This is the 6 month period after your part B effective date when you can enroll into a Supplement without being underwritten. Keep in mind you have a pre-enrollment period of 6 months before your part B effective date in which you can apply for a supplement without being underwritten.
|Guarantee Issue Period:
||This is similar to an SEP in which special circumstances will allow you to enroll into a Supplement without being subject to underwriting. Keep in mind that your premiums can be higher due to your age at the time of enrollment.