What is AEP?
If you are a Medicare member, then you have probably heard of AEP, which occurs annually every fall from 15th October to 7th December. Medicare AEP is one time of the year when you can make changes to your Medicare prescription drug coverage and health plans for the following year.
What Does AEP Mean?
Usually known as Medicare Annual Election Period, AEP is also referred to as Open Enrollment Period or Annual Enrollment Period. This is because you choose or elect to make certain changes to your Medicare during his period. The name confuses a lot of people because most healthcare days are centered around ‘enrollments’, not ‘elections’.
Who is AEP for?
Medicare AEP is ideal for anyone who wants to make sure that they are on the best Medicare plan according to their budget. Apart from this, AEP is for individuals who are looking for:
- Better drug coverage
- Larger doctor networks
- Lower prices
If you are signing up for additional coverage for the first time or you have missed deadlines, then AEP is also for you.
What Can I Do During Medicare AEP?
There are several changes you can make to your Medicare coverage during AEP. These include:
- Switching from your Original Medicare plan to a Medicare Advantage plan of your choice.
- Changing from your existing Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan.
- Switching back to Original Medicare plan from your existing Medicare Advantage plan.
- Choosing a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan or if you already have one, then switching from it to another one of your choice.
- Switching from a plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to another plan that does or vice versa.
- Dropping the Medicare Prescription Drug plan.
Can I Switch Plans Right Away?
Any changes you make during the AEP (October 15 to December 7) will take effect on January 1.
Is Approval Guaranteed?
Yes, you can switch Medicare Part D plans and Medicare Advantage plans during AEP even if you have pre-existing medical conditions. Approval is guaranteed as long as you switch plans at this time. There’s no penalty to switch so you won’t have to pay extra.
Can I Change Multiple Times?
Yes. During the AEP, you can change your Medicare coverage as many times as you like.
Should I Consider Making a Change?
This is a very good question. However, the answer to this varies from one person to another. Generally, it’s a good idea to review your Medicare plans each year and analyze whether your current plan is meeting your needs.
What if I Want to Keep My Current Plan?
Medicare Annual Election Period is all about changing your Medicare coverage during the designated period. However, just because you have an opportunity to change your Medicare plan doesn’t mean that you have to; you can stick with your current plan if it’s covering all your needs. If you plan on keeping your current Medicare plan, you won’t have to do anything during the AEP as you will be enrolled automatically.