If you are already enrolled in Medicare, the upcoming Annual Election Period (AEP) is a time for you to make changes to your Medicare coverage. Each year, the AEP lasts from October 15 through December 7. During this time, you can do the following:
- Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan
- Drop a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan and return to Original Medicare
- Change from one MA plan to a different MA plan
- Change from one Part D prescription drug plan to another
- Choose a Part D plan if you do not have one
- Cancel your current Part D plan
Any decision that you make will go into effect on January 1 of the following year. This means that if you didn’t sign up for an MA plan or a Part D plan when you first became eligible for Medicare, you can sign up for one during this time. It is also a time to review your current Medicare health and prescription drug coverage to see if you are satisfied or want to look for a different option that better meets your needs. For example, if you are enrolled in Original Medicare, but want dental or vision coverage, you may want to see what MA options are in your area.
It’s important to shop and compare plans, and switching can be smooth and painless. Here are a few steps to take as you prepare for open enrollment:
- If you have Original Medicare, review next year’s Medicare & You handbook so that you know your Medicare costs and benefits for the upcoming year.
- If you have an MA plan or a Part D plan, review your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and/or Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from your plan. This should arrive in September and will notify you or any changes in your plan’s benefits, costs or rules for the upcoming year.
- Research Medicare options in your area to see if there is an option that better meets your needs. If you have a Part D plan, check to see what an MA plan with Part D coverage (MAPD) plan could offer. Aspire Health Plan offers Monterey County’s only Medicare Advantage plan. Our plans include part D coverage.
In addition, there are many resources that you can go to for help:
- Aspire Health Plan’s comparison tool
- Calling Aspire Health Plan at (855) 570-1600
- Aspire Health Plan’s free Medicare events (with no obligation to enroll)
- Medicare’s Plan Finder tool
- Calling 1-800-MEDICARE to find plans in your area
- The California Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP)
If you are interested in Aspire Health Plan, call us at (855) 570-1600 for members and (866) 798-1530 for sales. TTY users call 711.