5 Reasons You Must Not Miss the Medicare AEP Window

The fall Medicare annual election period (AEP) is underway. During this open enrollment period, Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their Medicare enrollment. The open enrollment period began on October 15 and it will end on December 7. Here are five reasons you do not want to miss this window of opportunity.

Reason One: Beneficiaries have more plans to choose from.

During AEP, Medicare beneficiaries can choose from either Original Medicare, which refers to Medicare Parts A and B, or a Medicare Advantage plan, which is a private plan that meets Medicare requirements. The number of Medicare Advantage plans has been increasing. As a result, Medicare beneficiaries have more options than ever.

For 2020, each county will have an average of 39 Medicare Advantage plans. This is a 49 percent increase compared to the average number of plans available in 2017.

The plan you’re enrolled in now might have been the right match for you when you enrolled. However, since then, new plans have become available. AEP is your opportunity to see if any of these plans could provide a better match for your needs.

Reason Two: Medicare Advantage plans are offering new benefits.

Approximately 24.4 million people are expected to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans in 2020. Many people choose Medicare Advantage plans because they often provide additional benefits that are not covered under Original Medicare. These benefits can include vision, dental and hearing care, as well as other benefits.

Thanks to recent rule changes, Medicare Advantage plans are now allowed to offer an even wider range of supplemental benefits. These can include everything from meal delivery services to caregiver support services.

AEP is your opportunity to see if any plans in your area are offering new supplemental benefits that could help you in the coming year.

Reason Three: Medicare Advantage premiums are decreasing.

While healthcare costs keep increasing, Medicare Advantage premiums are actually decreasing. According to CMS, the average monthly plan premium is expected to go from $26.87 in 2019 to $23 in 2020. This is the lowest average premium since 2007.

But these are just averages. Some plans may see larger decreases, while others may see small decreases or even increases. AEP is your opportunity to see if you can find a plan that will cost you less.

Reason Four: Medicare prescription drug plan premiums are decreasing, too.

If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, or if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan that does not provide prescription drug coverage, you will need to enroll in a separate Medicare Part D plan for your prescription drug coverage.  The good news is that the premiums for these plans are decreasing, too.

According to CMS, the average monthly basic Part D premium will be $30 in 2020. This represents a 13.5 percent decrease in costs. AEP is your chance to make sure you’re not paying too much for prescription drug coverage.

Reason Five: You might not have another chance to change your 2020 coverage.

Outside of open enrollment, you may qualify for a special enrollment period based on life events. If you don’t qualify for a special enrollment period, you will have to wait for an open enrollment period to make changes to your plan selection. For current beneficiaries seeking to make plan changes, there are two periods to know:

  • Fall AEP (October 15 to December 7): This is when you can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare, or from one Medicare Advantage plan to another. You can also make changes to your Medicare Part D coverage.
  • Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment (January 1 to March 31): If you’re in a Medicare Advantage plan and you’re not happy with it, you can use this period to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan or to return to Original Medicare. However, if you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, you cannot make changes to your coverage during this time.

Because the fall AEP provides you with the most options, you do not want to miss this opportunity. It is your best chance to secure the right plan for your needs in 2020. Contact Insurance Line One to request a Medicare Insurance quote.

Sources
  • https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/trump-administration-drives-down-medicare-advantage-and-part-d-premiums-seniors

  • https://www.medicare.gov/sign-up-change-plans/joining-a-health-or-drug-plan

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