You’ve Missed the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Now What?

You’ve Missed the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Now What?

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period, which is when newly eligible individuals can enroll in Medicare, is from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 every year. This is also the period when current Medicare members can change or cancel their plans. But what happens if you want to change your plan but you miss the enrollment period?

  • If you already have Medicare coverage, you’ll be automatically re-enrolled in the same Medicare plan or plans you had the previous year.
  • If this is the first time you’re signing up for Medicare, and you missed the initial enrollment period, you can still sign up for a plan between Jan. 1 and March 31, but you may have to pay higher premiums because of late enrollment.
  • If you want to change your plan between Jan. 1 and March 31, you only have until Feb. 14 to add drug coverage through a Medicare prescription drug plan. Your coverage will begin the first day of the month after you enrolled. You can’t switch from an Original Medicare plan to a Medicare Advantage plan at this time.

There are a few other enrollment possibilities that might apply to your circumstances:

Special enrollment period

If you or your spouse is currently working and you’re covered by a health insurance plan through an employer or union, you’ll have access to a special enrollment period whenever your coverage ends. You’ll also qualify for special enrollment if:

  • You’re getting married
  • You qualify for extra help with Medicare prescription drug costs
  • You’re receiving care in an institution
  • You moved to a new permanent residence

Medicare Advantage disenrollment period

From Jan. 1 through Feb. 14, you can leave your Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare if you want. This disenrollment period is only for those with a Medicare Advantage plan; if you have Original Medicare, you can’t switch at this time.

If you missed the Annual Enrollment Period, reach out to one of the experts at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan who can help you understand your options.

Interested in learning more about Medicare? Keep reading:

Medicare Plus Blue, Blue Cross® Medicare Private Fee for Service, BCN Advantage and Prescription Blue are PPO, PFFS, HMO, HMO-POS and PDP plans with Medicare contracts. Enrollment in Medicare Plus Blue, Blue Cross Medicare PFFS, BCN Advantage and Prescription Blue depends on contract renewal.

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