Each year, you have a chance to make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug coverage for the following year. The open enrollment period for Medicare for 2018 coverage began on October 15, 2017 and will continue through December 7, 2017.
During this annual enrollment period you can make changes to various aspects of your coverage.
- You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.
- You can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another.
- And if you didn’t enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when you were first eligible, you can do so during the general open enrollment, although a late enrollment penalty may apply.
If you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must meet some basic criteria.
- You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B.
- You must live in the plan’s service area.
- You cannot have End-Stage Renal Disease (some exceptions apply).
There are specific times when you can sign up for these plans, or make changes to coverage you already have. You don’t need to sign up for Medicare each year. However, each year you’ll have a chance to review your coverage and change plans.
If you didn’t sign up for Medicare A and B when you were first eligible, you have a chance to do so each year from January 1 to March 31, with coverage effective July 1. You may be subject to a late enrollment penalty however. For Medicare Part B, the penalty is an additional 10 percent of the premium for each 12-month period that you were eligible but not enrolled.
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®