If you are enrolled in Medicare, you might not need to do anything for a renewal of your Medicare coverage. In many cases, your Medicare coverage will automatically renew each year.
There may be some situations, however, in which your Medicare coverage will not renew.
You may also want to review your Medicare coverage each fall to take advantage of other Medicare plan options that could potentially offer you more coverage and save you money.
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If you have Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and/or Part B (medical insurance) and you are up to date on your Medicare premiums, your Medicare coverage will automatically carry over from one year to the next and there is nothing you need to do to renew your plan.
If you have another form of Medicare coverage – such as a Medicare Advantage plan (Medicare Part C), a Medicare Part D plan or a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan (Medigap) – your coverage should renew automatically, as long as the plan is still being provided and you are paying your plan premiums.
Situations in which these types of Medicare plans might no longer be provided can include:
If you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D plan, you will receive a “Plan Annual Notice of Change” in the mail each September.
This notice will call attention to any changes in plan costs, benefits or service area adjustments for the upcoming year.
If there are any changes made to your plan that affect your overall satisfaction with the coverage, you may have a few opportunities to make any desired changes.
There are a few times throughout the year that you may be able to make changes to your Medicare coverage, including Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (also known as the Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage plans) takes place each year from October 15 to December 7.
During this time, you may join, leave or switch Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Part D plans.
Anyone who is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan with a rating of fewer than five stars is typically eligible to make changes to their Medicare coverage during the Five-Star Special Enrollment Period.1
From December 8 to November 30 of the following year, you may change your Medicare coverage in the following ways:
Some Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) at any time throughout the year to beneficiaries who experience a qualifying event.
These can include (but are not limited to):
There are other reasons a beneficiary may qualify for a Medicare SEP. A licensed insurance agent can help you determine your eligibility.
The Medicare General Enrollment Period (GEP) lasts from January 1 to March 31 each year.
Beneficiaries who did not sign up for Medicare Part A or Part B during their Initial Enrollment Period may do so during the General Enrollment Period. However, you may be subject to late enrollment fees for doing so.
You may drop a Medicare Supplement Insurance plan at any time. However, you may have trouble being accepted into a new Medigap plan, and you will likely be subject to medical underwriting if you do so.
In many cases, you may be able to take advantage of a 30-day “free look” period:
There are limited times throughout the year that you may drop, switch or add Medicare coverage, so it’s important to take advantage of those opportunities to review your coverage options instead of depending on automatic Medicare renewal.
Each fall, it’s wise to review your Medicare coverage and consider all of the following:
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to conduct your annual Medicare review. You can speak to a licensed insurance agent, who can help you review your Medicare benefits and any upcoming plan changes.
They can also help you compare other plan options available in your area and find plans that could potentially help you save money.
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Christian Worstell is a licensed insurance agent and a Senior Staff Writer for MedicareAdvantage.com. He is passionate about helping people navigate the complexities of Medicare and understand their coverage options.
His work has been featured in outlets such as Vox, MSN, and The Washington Post, and he is a frequent contributor to health care and finance blogs.
Christian is a graduate of Shippensburg University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He currently lives in Raleigh, NC.
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