Everyone keeps asking, “When can I change my Medicare supplement plan?” You know that you should apply for Medicare by the time you turn 65, but what is open enrollment and how does it affect you?
The Medicare open enrollment is the period you are given every year to make changes to your coverage. Imagine, for example, that when you applied for Medicare you didn’t need certain medications, so you didn’t choose a coverage plan that provides them. In time, you have developed an illness that requires constant medication and since you are on the wrong plan, you have to buy them out of pocket.
When Is the Open Enrollment Period?
You can amend your coverage during the open enrollment period, which usually runs from 15th October to 7th December. During this time you can make changes to your coverage and they will kick in come January 1 of the following year.
What Changes Can You Make?
The changes you can make include:
- switching from Medicare Part C to Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B)
- switching to Original Medicare from Medicare Part C
- changing Medicare Part C plans, also known as Medicare Advantage plans
- changing the Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) plans, or
- enrolling in a Medicare prescription drug plan when on Original Medicare and in need of one.
Annual Notice of Changes
When making changes, it is important to take time to study available documentation so that you can choose the right plan this time around. Your healthcare provider will send you a document called the Annual Notice of Changes that tells you all the amendments that have been made to the different plans in the last year. It is important to know what these changes are so that you can carefully choose the right kind of coverage for the coming period.
Discuss Your Needs with an Expert
For many seniors, changing coverage plans can seem rather complicated, and in fact, it is. There is a lot of information to be digested before one can decide what kind of coverage will suit them best. You can make things easier on yourself by discussing your Medicare needs with someone who is familiar with the system. You can ask your doctor to refer you to someone who can walk you through the different options available. Don’t allow them to make the decision for you. You know your needs best, so take the information provided to you and then make the decision yourself. Make sure that you submit your Medicare open enrollment forms on time if you want the changes to be reflected in the coming year.
Now you know when you can change your Medicare supplement plan.
Have questions? Need help purchasing a Medicare supplement plan? Call 877-88KEITH to speak with an agent.