5 Things to Know about Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)
Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment period is coming up soon – that time of year when it makes good sense to review your plan options. Are you or someone you love newly eligible for Medicare? Or maybe you’re already enrolled but looking to make sure you are getting all the benefits available to you at the best price possible? Here is what you need to know.
Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment period is coming up soon – that time of year when it makes good sense to review your plan options. Are you or someone you love newly eligible for Medicare? Or maybe you’re already enrolled but looking to make sure you are getting all the benefits available to you at the best price possible?
Here are 5 important things to consider as you approach the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) that runs from October 15-December 7:
1. Medicare has multiple parts, and which one(s) you choose to sign up for will depend on your financial and employment situation:
- Part A includes hospital stays, nursing home care, hospice, and home health services. It is often free if you or a spouse worked and paid taxes for 10 years. Even if you are still working and get insurance through your employer, it’s probably a good idea to sign up for at least Part A.
- Part B includes preventative care, x-rays, mental health care, and some ambulance services. It entails a monthly premium that changes year to year and varies based on income: it ranges from $148.50 to $504.90.
- Medicare Advantage—previously called Part C—involves working with a private insurer and offers benefits like prescription drug coverage, dental, vision, fitness, and more. Many people with the means to do so go this route. Our trusted partner can help you navigate this information and help you understand your options.
- Part D offers insurance specifically for prescription drugs and is ideal for those who don’t opt for Medicare Advantage.
2. If you’ve recently turned 65 or will do so soon, you need to know that there’s a 7-month window for signing up for Medicare called the initial enrollment period.
- That period includes the 3 months before you turn 65, the month of your birthday, and 3 months afterward
- If you don’t enroll during this period, you will have to wait to sign up and then pay a higher premium.
- It can be confusing, but our trusted partner can help ensure you’re getting all the Medicare benefits available to you.
3. Are you already 65 and still employed? Talk to your HR department first.
- If your employer has more than 20 employees, you will likely be able to enroll in Part A only (at no cost if you or a spouse has paid taxes for >10 years) and continue receiving the rest of your insurance through your employer until you retire.
- Some employer coverage plans may require that you enroll in both Part A and Part B to continue receiving your full coverage. While the Employee Retirement Income Security Act mandates that those who work past age 65 must still be offered the same health insurance benefits as younger people that work for the same employer, the law only applies to businesses employing at least 20 people.
- If you enroll in Medicare, either Part A or B, you cannot keep contributing to a Health Savings Account (HSA).
4. You may qualify for financial aid to cover costs that Medicare doesn’t cover.
- Medicaid, The Medicare Savings Program, Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), Extra Help, and Medigap are all examples of programs that offer financial assistance to those who need help covering deductibles, copays, and other expenses that Medicare doesn’t cover.
5. Navigating these issues can be tricky, but help is out there! AgeFriendly.org's trusted partner is here and you can count on them to help ensure you’re getting all the Medicare benefits available to you.
- In just minutes – and at no cost to you with no obligation to buy anything - Compare Medicare plans and ensure you’re getting the right coverage for your needs and budget.
- Now’s a great time to connect with a licensed insurance agent so you’re ready for Open Enrollment. Call today at 1-833-465-1484 (TTY:1-877-486-2048).
Do you have other thoughts on important considerations for the Open Enrollment window? What have you learned? Are there mistakes you’ve made that you wish you had known about sooner? What is the best Medicare advice you’ve been given?
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