| Tue, Dec 26, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

Got New Coverage for the New Year?

Posted by Medicare Made Clear

senior couple discussing at home with agentIf you made changes to your Medicare plan during Medicare Open Enrollment, you may be wondering what’s next. About 10 days after you enroll, you may get a phone call or letter from your Medicare insurance company. This is to make sure you understand your new plan. It is also a chance for you to give any information missing from your application.

In a few weeks, you’ll get information in the mail that may include:

  • A copy of your completed plan enrollment application. Keep this application for your records.
  • An acceptance letter showing your enrollment has been approved by Medicare.
  • A member ID card and information packet from your Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan provider. Read this information carefully. It has details of your new plan, contact information and your Evidence of Coverage. A letter explaining how you may be able to get extra help paying for Medicare costs may also be included. Keep these materials so you can refer to them if you have questions later.

Changing Coverage if you Change Your Mind

You’ve probably heard that nothing is forever. That applies to your Part C and/or D plan, too. There are certain times when you can change your plan outside of the Annual Enrollment Period. Each one has specific rules about who can use it and what kinds of changes can be made.

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period

The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is for Medicare Advantage plan members only. It runs January 1 to March 31. During this time, you can switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or drop a plan and go back to Original Medicare (Parts A & B).

If you return to Original Medicare, you can also enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan until March 31.

You can make only one coverage change during this enrollment period. The next opportunity is the Annual Enrollment Period in the fall (October 15 – December 7), unless you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

If you have certain changes to your life circumstances, such as moving out of your plan’s coverage area, you may qualify for a SEP. There are no set dates for SEPs. They are set according to your specific situation.

5-Star Special Enrollment Period

The 5-Star Special Enrollment Period is December 8 to November 30 every year. If a 5-Star plan is available in your area, you can switch to it during those dates. You can also switch from one 5-Star plan to another 5-Star plan. If you switch to a 5-Star plan that doesn’t have drug coverage, you won’t be able to add drug coverage until the next Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, October 15 to December 7. You can make changes to your plan only once during any 5-Star Special Enrollment Period.

For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.

[This post was updated in December 2018.]

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