Business & Finance

Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period

Chart of Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Dates Credits:

(Shameless Plug #38) 

The open enrollment for seniors is coming. From October 15th to December 7th seniors new to Medicare can sign up for Either "add-on" products to their existing Medicare or opt for signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan. 

They can also sign up for a supplement without being subject to the underwriting rules (guaranteed issue) (Can't combine with a Medicare Advantage plan).
Seniors new to Medicare can also choose their prescription drug plan options too. (Can't combine with a Medicare Advantage plan).

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It is important to understand the differences between them and understand what combinations you can use effectively to maximize your cover options.

Also be highly aware of the options you cannot combine due to legalities. Seniors new to Medicare should also take in consideration their personal circumstance before they make any choices or changes.
For example, some people may still be covered under employer insurance and need to evaluate their options (some employer plans will not allow you to come back in if you opt out). Do not worry because that is not always a bad thing, but check with your company HR department to make sure you fully understand any potential consequences you may experience because of your decision.

Present Medicare recipients, looking to make changes like switching Medicare Advantage Plans or going back to original Medicare, can also do so during this period. There're many options, choose based off of what is best for both your health and your finances. A sales expert can assist you with reviewing a variety of the options to see what fits your needs.

DO NOT JUST TAKE THE ADVICE OF YOUR NEIGHBOR, FRIEND OR CO-WORKER OR WALLET (what looks cheaper now may cost you much more in the long run). Things like deductibles, out of pocket expenses and co-pays, can add up quickly. First, investigate and think about your personal circumstances. For example, you may have had heart issues in the past and may need to look at insurance options different from other insurance plans your friends, neighbors and co-worker have.
Remember only "you" best understand what "you" need to address your personal insurance needs.

This is an important fact to remember. Now enough of the speech. Please understand some of these facts:
Medicare Open Enrollment Period
(Changes will take effect on January 1.) 
What you can do.....
Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
Change from a 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 doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage.
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 Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely. 

I also said before, when you turn 65 years old you are new to Medicare. Based on that you have a 7-month window to make various Medicare choices that range from, supplements, PDP plans, Medicare Advantage Options. Consulting an insurance expert will be very helpful in navigating the many options. The many options can be very overwhelming.

The link attached provides information from about timeframes, enrollment periods and special election periods that may allow you to address plan issues outside of the enrollment timeframes.

People who have both full Medicaid and Medicare, do not have to wait for open enrollment to switch, they have a special election period that allows them to switch as frequently as they want. This does not apply to all Medicare eligible people. Special circumstances must apply.

Please take observance of the Annual Open Enrollment period. Even if you are not looking to make a change in your health insurance, it is still an excellent time to do a check-up concerning your health insurance.

-Speak to your doctor(s) and make sure he/she is still taking your coverage. CONTACT ALL OF THEM...

-Contact your insurance company and make sure that you are aware of any changes that may have taken place. (You normally receive information about any changes) but you may not have paid any attention to them.
-make sure all the places you participate with take your health insurance plan and are not changing. (You do not want to be surprised) ...

-Contact these entities if you participate in them to update and check your benefits
1. Hospital
2. Doctor
3. Health club 
4. Pharmacy
5. Senior center 

If you receive extra help paying for some of your part A, B, C, or D Medicare cost, contact the entity that provides you help and make sure your case is up to date.

I know it seems like a lot but this is YOUR HEALTH and YOUR HEALTHCARE.

If you need assistance, contact your local Office of Aging department. It is usually found in your local city hall building. You can also contact SHIP coordinators, who are volunteers and can help navigate you through the process. Contacting your sales representatives may be difficult from October 15th to December 7th. Many will be very busy during open enrollment.

Contact me, John Clark (973) 518-0676 or email me at 

John L. Clark III, has been a licensed life and health insurance agent for ten years.  Mr. Clark has worked with various insurances and companies. Ranging from voluntary benefits with the American Family Life Assurance Company or AFLAC to life insurance with Mutual of Omaha and Medicare insurance with United Healthcare, John provides a wealth of knowledge.  Bringing his varied experience to many businesses and individuals, John now speaks to Senior audiences throughout the Tri-State Area, in hopes to discuss options and provide answers to people asking questions about senior concerns.  

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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