Now's the time to prepare for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), October 15 – December 7. AEP happens every year and is a time when you can make changes to your Medicare coverage without penalty. During AEP you can join, switch or drop a Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plan. Review your plan with your health, lifestyle and financial needs in mind to help you decide whether it's best to keep your current coverage or shop around for a better fit. Below are helpful resources and information to help you feel confident and ready for AEP.
Should I keep my current Medicare coverage?
It's a good idea to review your Medicare coverage every year. You may have experienced changes in your health, finances or overall lifestyle in the last year. Deciding to keep your current coverage or shop around for something new comes down to answering one question, "Is this Medicare plan right for me?" Here are some resources to help you review your current plan and compare new ones if you decide to shop around.
A good place to get started is evaluating your current Medicare coverage. You can use this checklist to determine if it's still right for you or download our Plan Review worksheet.
If you decide to keep your current plan, you may wonder if you need to renew. If you decide to keep your current Medicare coverage, you do not need to renew your enrollment in your plan.
Considering switching Medicare plans?
If you've decided to switch up your Medicare coverage, you're probably wondering what is right for you. You may want the same plan type but need different benefits now vs last year. You may have decided that you want a different type of Medicare experience altogether and be comparing Medicare Advantage plans to Medicare supplement (Medigap) plans. You may not have wanted to change your plan, but the plan provider discontinued it so you must.
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Here are some things to know when changing your Medicare coverage during AEP:
- You can drop a Medicare Advantage plan for Original Medicare, but if you do, you'll also lose the prescription drug coverage that was included with your Medicare Advantage plan (if your Medicare Advantage plan included drug coverage).
- If you go back to Original Medicare, you'll need to get a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan (PDP) to get prescription drug coverage. Here are 5 tips to help you pick one.
- You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage. And if you do, you may be able to drop your stand-alone Part D plan too if you have one as most Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage.
- You can add a Part D prescription drug plan if you already have Original Medicare or certain Medicare Advantage plans.
- You can drop your current Part D or Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in a new one.
- If you go back to Original Medicare, you can then apply for a Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap) plan*
*You can apply for a Medigap plan at any time during the year. However, it's important to note that if you apply outside of your Medicare Supplement Insurance Open Enrollment or guaranteed issue period, you will not be guaranteed acceptance and could face higher costs.
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