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Is It Too Late To Sign Up For Medicare Advantage

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What Is The Annual Enrollment Period

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You should review your coverage annually to make sure it still meets your needs. Benefits, in-network providers and pharmacies, drug formularies, and costs can change from year-to-year and can affect your coverage and how much you pay out-of-pocket.

Review the information your plan sends out each year, including the Annual Notice of Change , drug formulary, and Evidence of Coverage . If you find that the plan or coverage no longer meets your needs or budget, you have a few opportunities to change it.

During the Annual Enrollment Period, you have the opportunity to make changes to your coverage by:

  • Signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Changing from one MA plan to another
  • Leaving an MA plan and returning to Original Medicare
  • Signing up for a Medicare Part D prescription Drug plan
  • Changing from one Part D plan to another
  • Dropping your prescription drug plan

From during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you can make additional changes to your health coverage including switching from one MA plan to another or dropping your MA plan and returning to Original Medicare. If making that change causes you to lose your prescription drug coverage, you may also join a stand-alone Medicare Part D drug plan.

If you are happy with your existing costs and coverage, you do not have to take any action and your Medicare coverage will automatically renew for the following year.

Do I Need Medicare If I Am Covered By My Spouses Insurance

If you have insurance through a spouses employer, you may also be able to delay Medicare past age 65. However, this depends on the rules the employer has for covered dependents of Medicare age. Some employers may require covered dependents to enroll in Medicare at age 65 in order to remain on the employer plan. In this case, youll need to talk directly with the employers benefits administrator to learn about what you can do about Medicare enrollment.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage

2022 Part D premiums:

  • The average premium for stand-alone Medicare Part D coverage is about $43/month in 2022. There continue to be a wide range of Part D plan options available. Premiums for Part D plans start as low as about $7/month in 2022. On the higher end, plans can have premiums of up to $100/month or more, so there is a great deal of variation in price and benefits across the available plans.
  • High-income enrollees pay a higher Part D premium. The threshold for high-income began to be indexed as of 2020. The income threshold for 2022 is $91,000 for a single person and $182,000 for a couple . In 2022, the additional premium for high-income enrollees ranges from $12.40/month to $77.90/month.

Part D deductible:

Part D out-of-pocket costs after deductible:

  • Not to exceed 25% of the cost of brand-name and generic costs.
  • There is no longer a donut hole in terms of the maximum amount that enrollees can be charged when they fill prescriptions. But the donut hole still exists in terms of how insurers design their coverage , how total drug costs are counted, and who covers the bulk of the cost of the drugs .
  • After a beneficiarys costs reach the catastrophic coverage threshold , additional out-of-pocket costs are capped at the greater of 5% of the cost of the drug or a copay of $3.95 for generics and $9.85 for brand-name drugs.

Learn more about Medicare Part D.

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Reasons To Disenroll Or Change Medicare Advantage Plans

While a lot of effort goes into making an initial decision on Medicare plans, you may need to switch for a variety of reasons. Maybe the plan changed its offerings, or your needs have changed.

If your Medicare Advantage plan isnt meeting your needs, you may want to go back to original Medicare or switch Part C plans. You may need to add or change your prescription plan, switch to a Medicare Advantage plan that covers different providers or services, or find a plan that covers a new location.

Some of the most common reasons for changing plans include:

All of the above situations would qualify you for a special enrollment period.

When Can I Enroll In A Medicare Advantage Plan

Do I Need Medicare if I Have Insurance?

You can enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during your Initial Enrollment Period. Once that passes, there is one period each year that allows you to review your coverage and make changes as needed.

The Medicare Annual Election Period runs from of each calendar year.

During this period, you can:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan that doesn’t offer prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan that offers prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer prescription drug coverage
  • Join a standalone Medicare Prescription Drug plan
  • Switch from one Medicare Part D plan to another
  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely

There may be other special circumstances that allow you to make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan outside of AEP.

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Although You Dont Need To Renew Medicare Every Year Its Smart To At Least Review Your Options During The Annual Enrollment Period

As long as you continue to pay any applicable premiums, you should not need to sign up for or re-enroll in Medicare coverage every year. This is the case whether youre enrolled in Original Medicare, a Part C Medicare Advantage plan, or Part D prescription drug plan. Unless you fall into one of the few exceptions, your coverage should automatically renew every year.

Read on to learn when you may have to reapply or re-enroll in your Medicare plan to avoid late enrollment penalties and fees, and ensure you have the coverage you need when you need it.

S A And B If You’re 65

If you already are receiving Social Security before age 65, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Part A.

The same applies to Part B in the above situation. While you can opt out, be sure you have acceptable coverage in its place as defined by the government if you plan to enroll down the road.

“If you don’t want Part B, you need to notify Social Security to disenroll you,” said Danielle Roberts, co-founder of insurance firm Boomer Benefits.

Be aware that if you don’t enroll in Part B when you were supposed to and have no other qualifying coverage, you could face late-enrollment penalties.

That amount is 10% of the standard premium for each 12-month period you should have been enrolled. .

Individuals who aren’t auto-enrolled in Parts A and B at age 65 get a seven-month window to sign up unless they choose to delay it due to qualifying coverage elsewhere. That initial enrollment period starts three months prior to the month of your 65th birthday and ends three months after it.

Be aware, though, that if you wait until the month you turn 65 or during the three months after that to enroll, your Part B coverage will be delayed, which could cause a gap in coverage.

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Signing Up For Premium

You can sign up for Part A any time after you turn 65. Your Part A coverage starts 6 months back from when you sign up or when you apply for benefits from Social Security . Coverage cant start earlier than the month you turned 65.

After your Initial Enrollment Period ends, you can only sign up for Part B and Premium-Part A during one of the other enrollment periods.

General Enrollment Period And Medicare Advantage

Medicare Questions Answered LIVE – “IS IT TOO LATE?”

The General Enrollment Period is one of many different periods that open throughout the year. During these times, a person can change their Medicare coverage to a different plan.

This period runs from every year. During the General Enrollment Period, a person can:

  • sign up for traditional Medicare, even if they did not during their Initial Enrollment Period
  • switch their Medicare Advantage plan to a different one
  • switch from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare

However, a person cannot switch from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage during this time. They can only make one change during this time period.

When a person enrolls in Medicare during the General Enrollment Period, their coverage will usually start on July 1.

Other changes to coverage for those who already have Medicare usually start the following month or sooner.

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How To Enroll In Medicare Part D

You will reap the benefits if you take the time and effort to learn more about your Part D options. Take these three steps to enroll in Medicare Part D.

  • Shop around for the best Part D plan.
  • Gather information to complete the Part D application.
  • Sign up for Part D at the right time.
  • Timing is everything when you want to avoid late penalties, especially since you could end up paying them for the rest of your life. Do not miss your enrollment period.

    Medicare Supplement Insurance Enrollment

    If you have Original Medicare and would like to enroll in a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan , the best time to sign up is during your six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period.

    • Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period starts as soon as you are age 65 or older and are enrolled in Medicare Part B.
    • Insurance companies cannot deny you Medigap coverage or charge you a higher fee for pre-existing health conditions if you apply for Medicare Supplement Insurance during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period.

    If you dont sign up for a Medigap plan during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, you may still be able to buy one at any time.

    Insurance companies can take your health into consideration when setting your premiums or deciding whether or not to offer you coverage, however.

    You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B in order to buy a Medigap plan.

    Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans are very different, and you cannot be enrolled in a Medigap plan and a Medicare Advantage plan at the same time.

    Learn more about the differences between Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplement Insurance.

    Request a free, no-obligation Medicare Supplement Insurance quote today by visiting MedicareSupplement.com.

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    Medicare Part D Enrollment

    If you didnt sign up for Medicare Part D when you were first eligible, you can sign up during an annual open enrollment period, which takes place from October 15 to December 7 each year.

    Medicare Advantage plans that include prescription drug coverage can also be purchased during an annual Medicare Advantage open enrollment period that takes place from January 1 to March 31.

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    Since Original Medicare does not cover prescription drugs, signing up for a Part D plan during IEP is a good idea to ensure your medications are covered right away.

    With so many options to consider, take a look at our 10 things to do before you enroll in a Medicare plan for a simple guide to help you make the best decision for your needs.

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    When Do I Sign Up For Medicare Advantage

    Before you sign up for Medicare Advantage, make sure you weigh the pros and cons of Medicare Advantage vs. Medicare Supplements. If you choose to sign up for Medicare Advantage, you can do so during your IEP.

    If you missed your IEP, you can join during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. For those currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you also have another opportunity to make changes during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.

    What Does It Mean To Be Late To Medicare

    To be late to Medicare means you missed your initial enrollment period to enroll in Medicare. There are two ways to qualify for Medicare: when you turn age and through a disability, such as end-stage renal disease or Lou Gehrigs disease. If you qualify by age, you have a 7-month initial enrollment period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends three months after the month you turn 65.

    If you qualify for Medicare through disability, you will generally have a 24 month waiting period. You can enroll in Medicare two years of becoming eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits. Your initial enrollment period is 3 months before your 25th month of getting disability benefits, includes the 25th month of getting disability benefits, and ends 3 months after your 25th month of getting disability benefits.

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    Special Enrollment Periods For Medicare Part A And Part B

    Some beneficiaries qualify for Special Enrollment Periods , in certain situations. If you qualify for an SEP, you can enroll in Medicare Part A or Part B during your SEP without having to pay a late-enrollment penalty. For example, if youre covered by a group health plan because you or your spouse is working, your SEP for Medicare Part A or Part B is either of the following:

    • Anytime youre still covered by the group plan.
    • During the eight months starting the month after employment ends or the group plan coverage ends, whichever happens first. For example, if your employment ends on March 15 and your group coverage continues until March 30, you have until November 15 to enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B.

    If you qualify for an SEP, usually the late-enrollment penalty wont apply to you.

    Initial Coverage Election Period

    You Could Be Gaining a Medicare Late Penalty Without Even Knowing It!

    Youre first eligible to enroll in Medicare Advantage during your Initial Coverage Election Period . For most people, this period occurs at the same time as their Initial Enrollment Period for Original Medicare, Part A and Part B. In this case, if youre eligible when you turn 65, you can sign up during the 7-month period that begins 3 months before the month you turn 65, includes the month you turn 65, and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65.

    For example, Mrs. Donovans 65th birthday is June 20, 2009. She is eligible for Medicare Part A and Part B beginning June 1, 2009 and has decided to enroll in Part B beginning on June 1. Her ICEP begins on March 1, 2009 and ends on September 30, 2009.

    To be eligible to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must:

    • Have Medicare Part A and be enrolled in Part B, provided that you will be entitled to receive services under Medicare Part A and Part B as of the effective date of coverage under the plan.
    • Permanently reside in the service area of the Medicare Advantage plan .
    • Not have been medically determined to have End-Stage Renal Disease prior to completing the enrollment request.
    • You or a legal representative completes an enrollment request and includes all the information required to process the enrollment or meets alternative conditions for enrollment specified by Medicare.

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    Can I Sign Up For Medicare Advantage At Any Time

    If youre thinking about switching to Medicare Advantage , youll need to know when to enroll in Medicare Advantage plan choices in your area. There are certain periods throughout the year when you can sign up for, or switch between, Medicare Advantage plans. These are called enrollment periods. Some are scheduled periods, but some can be opened due to special circumstances.

    When can you enroll in Medicare Advantage plans ? These are known as enrollment periods, and they include:

    You can also choose to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan during your Initial Enrollment Period. This period includes the month you turn 65, plus three months before and after. Once youve enrolled in Parts A and B, you can switch over to Medicare Advantage.

    When Can I Sign Up For Medicare Supplement Insurance

    Medicare Supplement plans, also called Medigap plans, are sold by private insurance companies.

    If you enroll in a Medigap plan during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period, Medicare Supplement Insurance companies cannot charge you higher premiums or deny you a policy based on your health.

    Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period lasts for six months and starts as soon as you are at least 65 years old and enrolled in Medicare Part B.

    If you do not enroll during the six months when you are first eligible, you may apply at any time of the year.

    If it is outside of your six-month Medigap Open Enrollment Period, however, the insurer may ask you health questions and adjust your premiums to reflect any increased risk. They can also deny you a plan completely.

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    Turning 65 How To Sign Up For Medicare

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    Your healthcare coverage changes when you turn 65 and today weve got a handy guide showing you or your loved one how to sign up for Medicare.

    If youre getting Social Security benefits or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, youll be enrolled for Medicare Parts A and B automatically . If youre resident in PR, youll need to apply for Part B yourself.

    Youll be notified by post with a welcome pack explaining the coverage available to you. Please note that you may have to file other applications in addition to this automatic enrollment. If youre turning 65 in the next three months, you can find out what you need to do at the Medicare website here.

    If youre not yet getting Social Security benefits, youll have to apply for both Part A and Part B yourself.

    Important: Its vital you take action this within three months of your 65th birthday or three months after. If you leave it too late, youll be penalized, and the cost of your premium will go up 10% for every 12 months that you miss the deadline.

    Outside enrollment periods run from October 15th to December 7th if you do not apply within three months either side of your 65th birthday.

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