The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP, also called the fall Open Enrollment Period) lasts from October 15 to December 7 every year. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their coverage and switch, drop or enroll in a new Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
Before AEP rolls around, Medicare beneficiaries should look out for vital information about their Medicare Advantage or Part D coverage as outlined in their Annual Notice of Change.
The Annual Notice of Change, or ANOC, is a letter that describes any upcoming changes in your current Medicare plan coverage, costs or networks that will take effect on January 1 of the following year.
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This letter can be crucial to deciding which actions you may want to consider (if any) during AEP.
Anyone enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plan will receive an Annual Notice of Change.
Private Medicare plan carriers are required by law to send a notice to all policy holders, even if there are no changes in store for the upcoming year.
Your Annual Notice of Change should arrive in your mailbox by September 30.
If you don’t see it by then, contact your plan carrier directly to verify that it has been sent out or to request a new one.
Some of the changes that may be noted in your ANOC include:
Reviewing your Annual Notice of Change is a critical step in ensuring you’re enrolled in the proper coverage for your needs in the following plan year.
Some important questions to consider may include:
Even if there are no notable changes being made to your plan, it’s still a good idea to shop around during the run up to AEP as changes to costs and coverage may be taking place for other plans that could now make them more attractive than your current policy.
You can get help shopping for Medicare Advantage plans available near you by calling to speak with a licensed insurance agent. They can help you compare plan costs, benefits and the drugs the plan covers (if it offers prescription drug coverage).
You can also compare plans online for free and – if you’re eligible – apply for a plan online.
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Or call 1-800-557-6059 (TTY: 711) to speak with a licensed insurance agent. We accept calls 24/7!
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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