The holiday season is fast approaching, but the first thing you may want to shop is your Medicare plan for 2014. The Medicare Open Enrollment period, also known as the Annual Election Period (AEP), starts October 15, 2013 and ends on December 7, 2013. Any new changes made to your plan will take effect on January 1, 2014.
AEP is the time of the year to evaluate your current Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or a Medicare Part D Prescription medication plan. You might be able to find better coverage and/or save money if you switch. This is particularly important if you have started taking new medications, been informed of a new medical diagnosis, or experienced worsening or improvement of a pre-existing medical condition or other similar circumstance. Those with a Medicare Advantage and/or Part D plan should also review their plan’s Annual Notice of Change. This is required to be sent by September 30th and explains plan changes for 2014.
Even if your current plan is working for you, it is a good idea to check out what’s new. There is no underwriting during this period. AEP allows those facing some sort of health risk the same Medicare supplement rates as a healthy individual. Use this opportunity to make sure your Medicare insurance continues to match your health care needs and compare your current plan to other plans offered by health care providers in your area. Visit the Medicare website to use the Medicare Plan Finder for help with comparisons.
Don’t miss this window of opportunity or you may not be able to make any changes to your coverage before October next year. The AEP is the main time most Medicare beneficiaries can change plans. Medicare Advantage members can disenroll from their plan and return to Original Medicare anytime between January 1st and February 14th.