A new year has begun, which means a new coverage period has begun as well. Medicare beneficiaries who selected a new plan during the Annual Election Period, which ran from October 15 to December 7, are now enrolled in their new plan. Medicare beneficiaries who chose to keep their policy may be dealing with changes in their plan.
If you’ve heard of the new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, you may be wondering what other changes are possible. Here’s a look at your options.
What changes can be made during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, which runs from January 1 through March 31?
During the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan can make a one-time change to their enrollment.
- They can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan.
- They can switch to Original Medicare.
These changes may impact prescription drug coverage. Beneficiaries who switch coverage may make a coordinating change to their prescription drug coverage.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period runs between January 1 and March 31.
What about the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period?
The new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period replaces the old Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period.
The Medicare Disenrollment used to last between January 1 to February 14, and it gave people enrolled in Medicare Advantage an opportunity to return to Original Medicare. The new Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is twice as long (January 1 through March 31) and provides more options.
What if I want to switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage?
People enrolled in Original Medicare cannot use the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period to switch to Medicare Advantage. Anyone wishing to do so may have to wait until the next Annual Election Period, which will run between October 15, 2019, and December 7, 2019, and will affect coverage for the year 2020.
However, some people may qualify to enroll in a new plan outside of these dates.
Special Needs Plans are Medicare Advantage plans that provided targeted coverage for certain groups. If you are diagnosed with a chronic condition, there may be a Special Needs Plan in your area that targets your condition. If so, you can enroll in the Special Needs Plan outside of the normal enrollment period.
You may also be able to enroll in a Special Needs Plan if you require nursing care, or if you enroll in both Medicare and Medicaid.
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