Is It Too Late to Change your Medicare Plan?

Although the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) ended on December 7th, you still may be able to make some important changes to your Medicare plan. The AEP runs from October 15 to December 7th and allows Medicare subscribers to enroll, disenroll  or switch their Medicare Advantage Health and/or Prescription Drug Plans (PDP). Common reasons for switching plans include significant changes in the costs access or coverage; plan terminations by the insurance company or employer group; and dissatisfaction with the plan’s administration. From January 1 to February 14, Medicare Advantage subscribers also have the opportunity to disenroll from their Medicare Advantage plan (MADP) and return to original Medicare with the option of adding a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP). You may also be eligible to enroll in a Supplemental or Medigap plan at that time. Some reasons that people use this option is they didn’t make the needed changes during the earlier AEP or they selected a MA plan in January and it’s not meeting their needs. If you did not enroll in Medicare Part B (outpatient services) and/or Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) when initially eligible or during a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) and you did not have “creditable” insurance coverage (as defined by the Social Security Administration), you will likely be subject to a financial penalty if you want to enroll at a later date. In addition, your late enrollment will be generally restricted to the January to March, General Enrollment Period (GEP) and your coverage will not begin until July.  The prime take-away message is to read your mail from Social Security, Medicare and your insurance companies very carefully. It will save you time, money and reduce your stress and anxiety. If you need help understanding and acting on these matters, ask your trusted family members, friends, caregivers or an experienced Medicare counselor. For more general information, you can also call the Social Security Administration (800-772-1213), the Eldercare Locator (800-677-1116) and Medicare (800-633-4227). Feel free to share your comments and general questions, we all can learn from one another. Thanks Jim Sorrentino  

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