You’ve probably heard the term “Annual Enrollment Period,” but do you know what it actually means and how it might affect you? It can be tough to track down the answers to those questions without getting confused, so below we break the process down so that it goes as seamlessly as possible for you.
What is Annual Enrollment Period?
First things first: Annual Enrollment Period is the period when seniors (people aged 65 and up) are eligible to choose or change their existing Medicare plans. It’s the only time during the year when you can sign up for Medicare plans, or, if you already have Medicare, make changes to your existing coverage, unless you are turning 65 and are just becoming eligible for Medicare or you have a life change such as moving to a new state, losing coverage from your employer or your spouse (this is called a Special Enrollment Period). You don’t have to sign up for Medicare each year, but the Annual Enrollment Period provides a chance to review your current coverage and decide if you want to adjust anything for the following year.
What can you do during Annual Enrollment Period?
There are three main actions you can take during this period. They are:
- 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 provider to another
When does Annual Enrollment Period take place?
Annual Enrollment Period runs for 7 weeks. It begins on October 15 and ends on December 7.
How do I know if I should enroll?
Individuals who are 65 years old and older are eligible for Medicare. There is a seven month period that starts three months prior to your 65th birthday when you are able to enroll in Medicare. Your coverage begins the first day of your birthday month or, if you sign up after you turn 65, the first day of the month after you request to join a plan.
How can I enroll?
The first step is to use this tool* from Medicare.gov to calculate when you’re eligible for Medicare and to find out your premium amount for Part B. Then, determine whether you want to select Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. Read up here for more details on when and how to sign up for Medicare.
What happens if I already have Medicare?
Annual Enrollment Period allows those who already have Medicare to change their Medicare plans if they choose. If you are happy with your coverage, then you don’t need to do anything during Annual Enrollment Period and your current plan is not affected.
Do you have more questions about Open Enrollment? Ask in the comments below!
*Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan does not control this website and is not responsible for its content.
Medicare Plus BlueSM, BCN AdvantageSM and Prescription BlueSM are PPO, HMO-POS, HMO and PDP plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Medicare Plus Blue, BCN Advantage and Prescription Blue depends on contract renewal. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
- Y0074_O_IGBlgPstOpenEnrl CMS Accepted 10282014