Each year – between October 15th and December 7th – Medicare offers an Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) in which beneficiaries can make changes to their Medicare Advantage (Part C) or Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) plans.
Aside from providing seniors and those with a disability an opportunity to amend their coverage, the AEP is important because enrolling in Medicare at the right time ensures that you have the right, uninterrupted health coverage you need while avoiding any potential penalties.
Your AEP OptionsDuring the AEP, you can:
- Replace Original Medicare with a Medicare Advantage plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare
- Swap one Medicare Advantage plan to another
- Join, switch, or drop a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
Any changes you make during the AEP take effect on January 1st of the following year. As such, you have the chance to carefully review your current coverage, compare plans, and make any changes that meet your healthcare needs for the upcoming year. However, once the AEP ends, you will generally have to wait until the next AEP to make changes to your coverage unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) due to certain events, such as moving to a new address that isn’t in your plan’s service area, losing your current coverage, having the chance to get other coverage offered by an employer or union, your plan changes its contract with Medicare or certain other situations.
Other Medicare coverage changes and choices that are available during the AEP include:
- Adding Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage to Original Medicare
- Adding or dropping a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) plan
- Making changes to your Medicare Advantage plan with integrated prescription drug coverage (MAPD)
Making Changes During the AEP
The first step in making changes during the AEP is to review your current coverage and decide whether it is meeting your needs effectively.
Next, research and compare different plans that are available in your area. Using online resources, visit the official Medicare website at medicare.gov to utilize their plan finder tool. It allows you to enter your personal information and compare different Medicare plans based on cost, coverage, and other factors.
You can obtain assistance from Palm Medical Centers to help you understand your options and navigate the enrollment process. As a provider of senior-focused healthcare services in Florida, we have dedicated patient relations outreach representatives who offer Medicare application and plan selection services.
When reviewing your plan option during the AEP, there are several important factors you should consider. First and foremost, assess whether the plan covers the services, medications, and providers that meet your needs. Compare premiums, deductibles, copayments, and coinsurance rates to determine the most cost-effective plan. Ensure your preferred healthcare providers, hospitals, and pharmacies are in the plan’s network. If you require regular medications, review the plan’s formulary (list of covered drugs) to be sure they’re covered and affordable. Also, note whether the plan offers additional benefits, such as dental, vision, or fitness programs.
Once you have chosen a new plan or changes to your existing coverage, you can then enroll or make those changes by contacting the plan directly or through the Medicare website.
Medicare Services in South and Central Florida
By reviewing your plan options during the AEP, you can make informed decisions about your Medicare coverage, ensuring that you maintain the most suitable and cost-effective plan each and every year.
In addition to providing comprehensive health and wellness care, Palm Medical Centers can also help you access and obtain social service assistance not only for Medicare application and selection but also for:
- Medicaid application and renewal
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and meal assistance
- Lower-income housing opportunities
- Medication management
- Injury prevention
To discover the many benefits of becoming a patient at Palm Medical Centers, call us today at (833) 500-PALM (7256) or send us a message now. We have multiple clinics located throughout Central and South Florida, so there’s bound to be a Palm Medical Centers location near you.