As a provider of comprehensive, senior-focused healthcare services, we at Palm Medical Centers want to make sure our patients receive all the assistance to which they are entitled. That’s why we accept most Medicare plans and encourage our patients to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Unlike original Medicare, which includes Part A (inpatient hospital care) and Part B (outpatient doctor visits and services) coverage, Medicare Advantage plans include everything Parts A and B cover, plus Part C – additional coverage for dental care, hearing care, vision, and wellness and fitness programs. In addition, Medicare Advantage prescription drug (MAPD) plans combine Medicare Part C and Part D to provide prescription drug coverage.
Clearly, a Medicare Advantage plan offers the most benefits for those who are 65 or over. The only hitch is that buying into a Medicare Advantage plan outside the designated enrollment periods often results in a penalty in higher prices or limited coverage for seniors who sign up late. That’s why it’s important to know when you can apply to your chosen plan without incurring extra costs.
Your Windows of Opportunity in Applying for a Medicare Advantage Plan
The ideal times to apply for a Medicare Advantage plan include:
The Initial Coverage Election Period (ICEP)
Most Medicare Advantage plan members obtain their coverage during the period that begins three months before their birth month and ends three months after that. During the ICEP period, there is no cost penalty to sign up at any time. However, it is still recommended to sign up as early as possible because you may experience a temporary gap in coverage. It takes up to three months for your Part D coverage to take effect after you sign up, so if your previous coverage ends before Part D takes effect, you would experience a gap in coverage.
To be on the safe side, submit your forms around three months prior to the first day of the month in which you turn 65.
Medicare Advantage Annual Election Period
If you are already receiving original Medicare benefits, but then decide to switch to a Medicare Advantage plan, you can do so without a penalty during the annual enrollment period which begins each year on October 15– or the beginning of the fourth quarter for most insurance companies– and ends on December 7.
Medicare Advantage Special Enrollment Period
If you are forced to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan outside of the normal enrollment periods, you can do so without incurring a penalty under certain special circumstances. These include:
- If you are moving from one coverage area to another, which forces you to switch providers.
- You experience a loss of prior coverage. For example, if the insurance provided by your employer ends when along with your employment. (Note: COBRA coverage is not applicable).
- There are changes to your prior coverage beyond your control, such as a rate increase or a reduction of benefits.
- A loss of coverage caused by a federal employee. Example: Being given inaccurate advice or being improperly encouraged to choose an option other than the coverage that you need.
- Release from a correctional institution.
Doctors Medicare Advantage Plan in Lakeland, Florida
At Palm Medical Centers, we provide more than just senior primary care with genuine kindness. We also want to help you obtain the social services that are available to you and your family. That’s why we have dedicated patient relations outreach representatives who can help you choose the Medicare Advantage plan that best suits your individual needs. In addition, our patient liaisons work with ACCESS Florida representatives to streamline the application process for you.
Our patients have a 98% satisfaction rate with our services, because our doctors listen to them, and we have locations within 3 miles of most patient’s homes.
We have multiple clinics located across South and Central South Florida, meaning you can likely find a Palm Medical Center location within 3 miles of your home. We’d even be happy to give you a tour of our medical clinic and wellness center upon request. So, contact us today!