Monday, October 16, 2017

Medicare Annual Enrollment Started October 15

The Annual Election Period (AEP) for Medicare recipients is upon us again.

From October 15th to December 7th covered individuals can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs.

During the AEP, you can: 

  • change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan; 
  • change from Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare; 
  • switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan; 
  • switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn't offer drug coverage; 
  • join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan; switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan; 
  • or drop your Medicare drug coverage completely.

If you don't take advantage of this Special Election Period (SEP), then you are "locked in" until the next AEP unless you qualify for a SEP which allows you to change plans between the AEP.

Among the circumstances that may qualify you for a SEP are: you move to a new location; you're eligible for Medicaid; you qualify for Extra Help with Medicare prescription costs; you're getting care in an institution (like a skilled nursing facility or long term care hospital); or, you want to switch to a plan with a 5-star overall quality rating.

If you are satisfied with your, Plan you don't have to do anything. You'll simply remain in your existing plan. If you want to change, you'll need to contact the representative for that plan and complete the necessary application forms for enrollment.

If you decide to change, you'll need to: make sure that your primary doctor and your specialists are in the plan and whether they taking new patients who have this plan; know what you will have to pay if you see a doctor outside of the network; look at the limits on your out-of-pocket expenses; and, make sure that your plan includes preventative medicine, such as wellness visits as well as services such as vision, dental, hearing, prescriptions, and transportation. 

For more information, Chicago and Cook County residents, call (773) 614-3201.

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