The Difference Between Annual Enrollment and Open Enrollment

Medicare 101

With all the TV commercials from Medicare brokers promising you benefits you probably are not even entitled to, you may think that Annual Enrollment (AEP) and Open Enrollment (OEP) are the same. They are not.

Annual Enrollment is every year from October 15th – December 7th. This is the time where you should review your current coverage to see if it is the best plan for you. If you have a local agent, they can review any changes for the new year on your current plan. They may also have a newer plan with enhanced benefits.

During Annual Enrollment you can change your Medicare Advantage Plan, enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan (underwriting may be required), change back to Original Medicare or enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan.

Open Enrollment is every year from January 1st – March 31st. It’s best to consult your local agent to see if you qualify to make any changes. In most cases you can change your Medicare Advantage plan if you are not happy with your current one.

When you turn 65 you can choose a plan once you have your Medicare number. You can apply for your Medicare number as early as three months before your birthday. Your Medicare, and any plans you enroll in, will be effective the 1st day of your birth month.

You may be eligible to enroll in a plan during another period called Special Enrollment (SEP). An example of this would be retiring and losing your group health coverage or moving to this area. Most Medicare Advantage plans are state/county specific.

For any questions, please contact your local agent.

Watch for more information next time when we try to make more sense of Medicare.

Submitted by Sharon Weatherhead, an Independent Medicare Insurance Agent.   

For more information check out Sharon’s Twrtimes Advertisements 2021 updated 2-15-2021

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