The following article was adapted and edited from the pro tips video Understand Your Enrollment Periods by Aaron C. Matheny, Owner and Agency Manager of CSG Medicare Pros.
Medicare Supplement Plans. When can you Change? When can you enroll in these Plans?
You can shop Medicare Supplement Plans anytime. These plans would include Plan F or Plan G. This would be a plan that you are paying a significant monthly premium for and are getting significant benefits in the plan paying all, if not most, of your out-of-pocket costs in addition to what Medicare covers. You may shop these plans anytime. This is different than what a lot of people understand. You can shop for Medicare Supplement Plans, anytime, even outside of the annual enrollment period from October to December. If you are switching from a Medicare Advantage plan to a Medicare Supplement Plan, or trying to, you need to do that in the fall and it would be suggested that you do it as early as you can in October because it will take some time going through medical underwriting to see if you qualify.
Medicare Advantage and Part D Drug Plans
Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D drug plans play by the same rules as far as when you can enroll in them. So the Initial Election Period (IEP) basically means that you are either turning 65 or you have been on a credible coverage plan through your employer or Union that is ending. The window you have to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan in these scenarios is three months on either side of your birth month. That would be considered your Initial Election Period. If you are going off a work plan, you will need to add Medicare Part B and Part A if you don’t already have those plans. You will have time during that seven month IEP window to get your Part B as well as enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan and a drug plan.
Social Security Disability Income and Medicare Advantage Plans
Social Security Disability means that you would have worked for 10 years, or a spouse would have worked for 10 years accruing 40 work credits, and then you become disabled, then you qualify for SSDI. If you have Social Security Disability Income (SSDI), not just SSI, for at least two years you may qualify for Medicare early. That also opens up your Initial Election Period where you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan. The SSDI begin date for those two years would actually be the date of first application. As an example, if you applied for social security disability in January of 2019 and you were denied, then you applied again in January of 2020 and you were approved, the beginning date would be retroactive to the first application date. Ultimately, you would be eligible two years later from your initial SSDI application to get on Medicare. That would signal an opportunity for an Enrollment Period to enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Annual Election Period (Open Enrollment Period)
The Annual Election Period (AEP) or what most people call the Open Enrollment Period is from October 15th to December 7th. During this AEP you can enroll in for the first time or change Medicare Advantage Plans or Drug plans. You also can drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and enroll in a supplement plan and a prescription drug plan.
Special Election Periods (Special Enrollment Periods)
Special Elections Periods (SEP) are exciting opportunities for people who move or for people getting on AHCCCS or Extra Help benefits. If you have moved, the enrollment period is for two months after the official move date. You can change plans even if you’re moving from one county to an adjoining county. If you were moving from Mojave County to Yavapai County, you have the opportunity to change plans, in that county, if there are different plans available. With regards to AHCCCS, which is Arizona’s Medicaid, or this Extra Help benefit, which reduces prescription drug costs, you can change Medicare Advantage Plans or drug plans anytime throughout the year. With this specific SEP you get an enrollment period every three months.
Medicare Advantage and Part D Open Enrollment Periods
You have the opportunity to switch Medicare Advantage and Part D Plans from January 1 to March 31. If you intended to switch your Medicare Advantage Plan in the fall and did not get around to it or let’s say you did switch a plan and you wish you were back on your other plan, you have a three month window during the Open Enrollment Period (OEP) in which you can switch plans.
View the Entire Pro Tips Video: Understand Your Enrollment Periods
As this article does not contain all information given in the Pro Tips presentation, we strongly encourage you to view the entire video at https://www.csgmedicarepros.com/consumer-resources/
Speak to a Qualified Medicare Agent in Arizona
CSG Medicare Pros are qualified and experienced and Medicare agents specializing in Medicare Health Insurance providing Medicare (parts A and B), Medicare Supplemental Insurance, Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare Prescription (Part D) plans. We serve Medicare recipients in every county in Arizona including in the cities of Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Chandler, Apache Junction, Gilbert, Tucson, Kingman, Bullhead City, Prescott, Flagstaff, Yuma, Sierra Vista and more. CSG Medicare Insurance Agents are independent, licensed and appointed with multiple insurance carriers to give you a wide variety of choice. For more information, call (480) 635-4050 or (928) 263-8500.