Annual Election Period Begins Oct. 15 and Continues through Dec. 7
INDIANAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Medicare’s primary sales season, known as the Annual Election Period, or
AEP, starts Oct. 15 and continues through Dec. 7. It is the time each
year when most people can buy or change Medicare plans, but it’s
important for buyers to do their homework first.
There is much to compare, particularly for health plans offered through
private health insurers, called Medicare Advantage (MA). These plans
often offer additional benefits – like dental and vision coverage – as
well as things like fitness plans, online doctor visits and care
coordination for people with certain chronic conditions.
“Premiums and benefits are different depending on the plan, so it’s
important for people to look at these differences to make sure their
plans meet their needs,” said Martin Esquivel, Anthem’s vice president
of Medicare product management.
By the end of September, people with current Medicare coverage should
have received a notice from their health insurer listing any changes to
their MA plan for the coming year. If these changes are acceptable, then
they don’t need to do anything to keep their plan. But, if they want to
explore other options, then it’s time to start doing so.
For those in the market for a new plan, following are some important
tips to consider when shopping for coverage.
Examine the plan’s list of covered drugs. Different plans have
different lists of covered drugs, called formularies. Consumers should
check to see if their drugs are covered and at what cost, particularly
if they’ve gotten new prescriptions since they last picked their health
insurance plan. And different plans offer different benefits.
Review the provider network. MA plans include networks in which
members must seek care or pay higher costs. Consumers should check to
make sure that their hospitals, doctors and pharmacies are included in
Consider the extra costs. When making a decision, consumers
should weigh not only the plan’s monthly premium, but other
out-of-pocket costs, like copays, coinsurance and annual out-of-pocket
Look for bells and whistles. One of the pluses for MA plans is
the extras, such as fitness plans, nurse health lines, online doctor
visits, dental and vision coverage, and care coordination for people
with certain chronic conditions. Consumers should compare plans to see
what they offer.
Explore the possibility of extra help. Those with limited income
may qualify for financial assistance with their premiums. Anyone who
thinks they may qualify can check their eligibility by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp
or calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY
1-800-325-0778) for details.
More information about all MA plans available in a certain area can be
found at www.Medicare.gov.
Doug Bennett Jr., (502) 889.2103