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Don’t Miss Medicare Open Enrollment

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Medicare open enrollment is a critical time for seniors aged 65 and other Medicare beneficiaries. It’s the only time during the year when you can make changes to your Medicare plans, including Medicare Advantage and Medigap policies, while still enjoying guaranteed enrollment status.


The dates are different for new Medicare enrollees than they are for existing Medicare
beneficiaries, so pay close attention to the open enrollment period for your category.

For current Medicare enrollees

If you are already enrolled in Medicare, then your open enrollment for 2022 runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 this year.

During this period, you are entitled to make changes to a number of aspects of your coverage:

– You can move from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, or you can opt out
of a Medicare Advantage plan and move to Original Medicare.
– You can enroll in Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage). A late enrollment
penalty may apply if you did not enroll when first eligible.
– You can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
– You can switch from one Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage plan to another.

Enrolling in Medicare Advantage

If you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage insurance (managed care) plan, you must be
enrolled in both Part A and Part B. You must also live in the plan’s service area, and with a few exceptions, you cannot have end-stage renal disease.


If you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage insurance (managed care) plan, you must be
enrolled in both Part A and Part B. You must also live in the plan’s service area, and with a few exceptions, you cannot have end-stage renal disease.


Medicare Advantage is an “all in one” alternative to Original Medicare. These “bundled” plans include Part A, Part B, and usually Part D. Some benefits include:

• Plans may have lower out-of- pocket costs than Original Medicare.
• In many cases, you’ll need to use doctors who are in the plan’s network.
• Most plans offer extra benefits that Original Medicare doesn’t cover — like vision,
hearing, dental, and more.

For new Medicare enrollees

If you are not enrolled in Medicare and you are turning 65, you have a different enrollment
period. Here’s how it works:


When you turn 65 and apply for Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, you will
automatically be enrolled in Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B.
When you are first eligible for Medicare, you have a seven-month window during which you can sign up. The window opens three months before you turn 65, includes the month in which you turn 65, and then includes the three-month period after you turn 65.


Unless you are currently receiving benefits from an employer’s group insurance coverage, it is almost always in your best interests to enroll during your initial enrollment period.
Failing to enroll when first eligible may mean you will have to pay higher premiums as a late enrollment penalty. If you have to pay a penalty, you’ll continue paying it every month for as long as you have Part B.


However, if you miss the deadline, you can still enroll during the general enrollment period from Jan. 1 through March 31, for coverage to begin on July 1.

That means you may be without coverage from the time you enroll until July 1. That’s something to keep in mind and should serve as an incentive, along with the Part B penalty, to enroll during the initial enrollment period.


Note: Different rules apply for those with end-stage renal disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. To find out more, call us for information.