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When is Medicare Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans?

Important 2019 Dates You Need to Know

The Medicare Advantage Plan and Prescription Drug Plan Open Enrollment period is starting and we want to make sure you’re equipped with all the important dates. It’s important to make sure you enroll at the right time, because missing an enrollment date could mean higher premiums later.

Did you know that this year one-third (34%) of all Medicare beneficiaries – 22 million people – are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans? [1]  You may be asking “what is that exactly?” A Medicare Advantage Plan is also known as Medicare Part C or an MA Plan.  This type of plan offers a comprehensive package of health benefits as an alternative to Original Medicare.  The benefits are offered by a private insurance company contracted with Medicare.  These plans include your Part A (hospital) and Part B (medical) benefits, and oftentimes also include Part D (prescription drug coverage).  Additionally, some Medicare Advantage Plans can include extra coverage for routine vision care, hearing aids, routine dental coverage and more. 

There’s good news if you’re enrolling in a Medicare Advantage Plan this year—Medicare Advantage premiums are projected to go down, on average, by 23% from 2018 (their lowest level in 13 years), for more than 24 million people with Medicare who are projected to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for 2020.

In order to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, the beneficiary must have Medicare Part A and Part B already.  Also, depending upon date of entitlement for Medicare, the beneficiary may have specific enrollment periods that will apply.

Initial Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans:

  • Applies to Medicare Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Plans
  • A 7-month period starting 3 months before you turn 65 and ending 3 months after you turn 65.

Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans:

  • Applies to Medicare Advantage Plans and Prescription Drug Plans
  • Annual open enrollment from October 15-December 7, 2019
  • During this period, you may join, switch or drop coverage

Medicare Advantage Switch or Drop Period:

  • Applies to Medicare Advantage Plans
  • January 1 – March 31, 2020
  • During this period, you can only switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another, or disenroll and return to Original Medicare

Medicare Advantage Plans also have varying coverages and rates, so it is important to compare plans in your specific service area.  With the Open Enrollment Period coming up soon, Ametros can put you in touch with one of our trusted partners for advice and to answer your questions.

[1] Jacobson, G.;  Freed, M.; Damico, A.; Neuman, T. (2019, June 06). A Dozen Facts About Medicare Advantage in 2019. Retrieved from https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/a-dozen-facts-about-medicare-advantage-in-2019/

 

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