Gearing Up for a Battle with Medicare? We Can Help!

Every year in October, the Annual Election Period (AEP) for Medicare benefits begins. If this is your first time enrolling, you may have a few questions about the process as it can be confusing to navigate. Open enrollment for Medicare is different than the open enrollment period for federal health insurance. 

At Arnold Insurance, it’s our job to walk you through the process of open enrollment and help you find a plan that fits your needs. As you begin to prepare for AEP, we thought we would share five commonly asked questions.

1. When is the Annual Election Period and What is it? 

AEP for Medicare starts October 15th and runs until December 7th. During AEP, those who are eligible for Medicare can switch or disenroll from their health plan and change drug prescriptions. Any changes you make during this time will be effective January 1st. If you’re looking to change your coverage for next year, this is the time to do it. 

You can also check for changes in your costs, coverages and the in-network status of your healthcare providers and pharmacies. Reviewing your plan is important, because it gives you the opportunity to find what the best fit is to meet your needs. However, if you’re happy with your current plan, you won’t need to do anything.

2. I’m 64 - Do I Need Marketplace Coverage Till I Turn 65? 

The simple answer: yes. You are able to enroll in Medicare three months before you turn 65 and three months after your birthday. However, when you become eligible for Medicare, you will most likely want to re-evaluate your marketplace coverage due to tax credits and lower income-based costs. 

3. What if I Retired and I’m Not 65 Yet? 

If you’re under the age of 65 and have already retired, you’ll want to make sure you are registering for coverage using Cobra or procuring coverage through the healthcare marketplace.

And, when you do turn 65, we recommend signing up on time to avoid any penalties or charges that could be costly during your retirement. Your window to enroll for Medicare begins three months before you turn 65 and ends three months after it. 

4. Can I Purchase Medigap or Medicare Part D during Open Enrollment? 

During AEP, you have the opportunity to ensure you’re getting the most competitive prescription drug plan for the upcoming year. Any changes to your drug coverage during the AEP will go into effect January first of the upcoming year.

5. Will My Prescriptions be Covered? 

Every plan under Medicare has a list that shows the prescriptions covered under each plan. It may have multiple tiers included which have higher copays depending on the type and brand of the prescription. We encourage you to select a plan that covers the medications you need at a price you can afford. 

Due to changing formularies (covered medications) within prescription drug plans, and even without changes in medications, it could be possible that you may need to consider switching your part D plan. 

It’s important to note that Medicare supplements follow separate enrollment rules that don’t apply to the AEP. For any questions on what applies to your situation, speak with your Arnold Insurance agent during the AEP.

What This All Means 

There are many plans to choose from and hundreds of variables that play a factor in your decision making. Whether you are happy with your current plan or looking to make some adjustments during AEP, an Arnold Insurance agent can help you narrow down your options. If you have any questions about AEP and the retiree benefits we offer, give us a call at 800-397-2427. We’re always happy to help!

Not affiliated with or endorsed by the government or federal Medicare program. Calling the number above will direct you to a licensed insurance agent.


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