Oops! Did You Miss the Medicare Deadline?

Posted by Janice Wood, December 27, 2017

Medicare’s Annual Election Period just closed on December 7. Hopefully, you took advantage of this enrollment period to evaluate your coverage and make any necessary changes.

But sometimes, life has other plans. Maybe your needs have changed, or perhaps you forgot to finish the process. Whatever the reason, you’re probably wondering what to do now that you’ve missed Medicare’s Annual Election Period deadline…

Your current plan automatically renewed. If you didn’t elect to make changes to your Medicare plan, your current plan was renewed for next year. That’s good news, in the sense that you won’t be going without healthcare coverage. It’s bad news if you wanted to change to a different plan.

You can’t enroll in a new Medicare Part C (or Medicare Advantage Plan) until enrollment opens up on October 15, 2018. If you’re currently enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B, you will continue with that coverage. If you already had a Medicare Advantage plan, you will still have it. You simply missed your chance to switch to a different Part C plan.

You can change your mind about your Advantage Plan. If you’re enrolled in Medicare Advantage (Part C), you can disenroll from that plan between January 1 and February 14. You can go back to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) during this time and add a stand-alone prescription drug plan, but you cannot switch to a different Advantage plan.

In other words, changing your mind about Medicare Advantage plans is a one-way ticket. You can opt out of it from January 1 to February 14 each year, but you can only opt into it during the Annual Election Period each fall unless you qualify for a Special Election Period (SEP).

What happens if you forgot to enroll in Medicare completely when you turned 65? You may be subject to a late enrollment period if you do not have qualifying coverage. You should apply for coverage or speak with a professional as soon as possible to ensure coverage.

From January 1 to March 31, Medicare has a General Enrollment Period for those who missed their Initial Enrollment Period. This enrollment period is for those who never signed up for Medicare Part A or B, not for those who wish to change into a different plan.

If all of these different dates seem confusing, you’re not alone. Medicare is a complex system. That’s why we’re here to help you sort through your options. Give us a call, and we’ll help you decide what to do about your Medicare coverage.

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