Anyone familiar with healthcare plans in the U.S. knows that there is an annual open enrollment period for signing up for or making changes to their health care plan. The approximately 64 million seniors who are eligible for/enrolled in Medicare have two main times that they can enroll in or switch their Medicare plan: 1. The Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) and 2. The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) – commonly referred to as Medicare Open Enrollment.
As Medicare agents, it’s our job to help kupuna sign up for and make changes to their Medicare plan(s). We offer personalized help, including questions about eligibility for programs like Extra Help and show our customers all their options so they can find the right plan(s) for their needs.
Below is some helpful information about enrolling in Medicare.
When is Medicare Open Enrollment?
There are two main windows where seniors can enroll in Medicare plan(s): the IEP and the AEP.
Initial Enrollment Period
The IEP is a seven-month window around a senior’s 65th birthday where they can sign up for Medicare benefits. The period begins three months before the individual’s birthday month, includes the birthday month, and extends three months after the birthday month.
During this window, kupuna can:
Enroll in Original Medicare (Parts A & B)
Enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan
Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan or a
Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan. The best time to sign up for a Medicare Supplement plan is within six months of enrolling in Part B because during this period seniors are not asked any questions about preexisting health conditions that can affect eligibility and price.
Note: Seniors may not enroll in both a Medicare Supplement plan and a Medicare Advantage plan.
Fall Annual Enrollment Period
The annual Medicare open enrollment period – formally known as the AEP – is the time every year when people with Medicare can choose or make changes to their Medicare coverage. The fall open enrollment period runs between October 15 and December 7, with coverage changes going into effect the following January 1.
The AEP is a great time to find the right Medicare plan to fit your needs, review deductibles and premiums, and ensure that you have the right prescription drug coverage. Don’t forget that plans can change from year-to-year – even a small change is worth reviewing to make sure that the plan still suits your needs. Your Medicare agent is ready to help you each year during open enrollment to make sure that you’re still on the best possible plan. In most cases, you won't be able to sign up for a Medicare plan until the next year if you don't enroll during the fall enrollment period so this is an important window.
During AEP, Medicare recipients can:
Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare
Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
Join a Part D prescription drug plan if you’re on Original Medicare
Change from one Medicare Part D drug plan to another
Cancel Part D coverage
Whether you are turning 65 soon or you are already enrolled in Medicare and wanting to make some changes to your plan(s), this is a great time to contact a Medicare insurance agent for a free consultation.
Our independent insurance agents are dedicated to assisting people on Medicare and those who are ready to transition from employer coverage to personal retirement coverage. We help kupuna understand their benefits options and apply for additional coverage, as needed. We are the only insurance agency in Hawaii contracted with EVERY Medicare Advantage plan, which means we are able to offer unbiased advice; all at no cost to our clients.
At PBC, our clients are our number one priority and we look forward to getting to know you and your needs. Call us today at (808) 738-4500 to see how we may be of assistance.