AEP Is Coming!
Did you know that the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is just around the corner? It is! But there’s still time to reach out to your agent, research your options, and potentially change your plan. AEP starts October 15th and runs through December 7th with changes going into effect starting January 1, 2022.
Since AEP is your yearly chance to make changes to your existing coverage, you do need to take action quickly, though.
What can you do during AEP?
If you’ve been a Medicare beneficiary for a while, you’ve no doubt seen enrollment periods come and go. But you still may be confused about what you can do with your Medicare policy when.
The good news is your Medicare insurance agent is available to answer questions and help you understand. For right now, AEP is the most important enrollment period, so you should be giving your 2022 policy needs some thought. During AEP, you can
- switch from an Advantage Plan to Original Medicare;
- make a change from Original Medicare to an Advantage Plan;
- go from one Medicare Plan to another; or
- add, remove or change your Part D Plan.
Or you can keep your plan exactly the same—you don’t have to change anything! Even if you’re happy with your existing coverage, reviewing your options is always a good idea. For example, average premiums for Advantage Plans will decrease in 2022, while Part D premiums are set to increase. If this affects you, contact your agent to learn about your options.
Don’t confuse AEP with OEP
Open Enrollment Period (OEP) is the period of time from January 1st to March 31st when those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan can choose to either switch to another plan or go back to Original Medicare.
AEP and OEP aren’t the same, so you don’t make the mistake of waiting until OEP to make changes. If you wait, you likely won’t be able to make the changes you want. So now is the best time to make changes to your coverage!
Make sure you’ve received and reviewed your ANOC
If you have Medicare Advantage or Part D, you should receive your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) sometime in late September. Keep in mind that the notice will be sent out by your insurance provider, not the federal government.
This important document outlines any changes to your current plan for the upcoming year and gives you a chance to direct questions to your agent, research plan alternatives and make any changes before AEP ends on December 7th. Pay particular attention to changes in premiums and prescription drug benefits, especially if you’ve started new medications.
Assess recent changes in your health or lifestyle
Communicate any big life changes to your Medicare insurance agent so they can confirm your plan still meets your needs. This could be a change in your PCP, new or modified prescription drugs, a prospective move to another state, a scheduled surgery or a new medical diagnosis that might require seeing a specialist.
Any of these events can affect which plan is best for you and what kind of coverage you’re eligible for.
Know your options
Medicare benefits and guidelines change often because of new federal legislation. For example, right now the current administration is in negotiations to pass a sweeping spending bill. Among other changes, the bill would increase access to dental, hearing and vision coverage for Medicare enrollees.
If you’re wondering if any of this year’s new Medicare benefits affect you, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does your current plan offer a $2000 dental benefit?
- Will your plan cover up to $1800 in over-the-counter benefits for items like toothpaste and cotton balls?
- Will your plan pay for food delivery, gym memberships, acupuncture and chiropractic care?
If you answered no to any of these questions, contact your agent to book an appointment—even if you’re only considering changing your coverage. They’ll work with you to ensure you have the best fit plan for you.
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