Now that it is August, the time has rolled around once again for Medicare’s annual open enrollment. This is the time of year for Medicare recipients to update or change their coverage. It’s also when certain new participants can enroll in coverage for the first time. If you are a Medicare recipient, how do you know whether you need to do anything?
Some Medicare recipients need to take no action during open enrollment. Others should use this time to make beneficial changes to their coverage.
What’s Open Enrollment?
When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, they created an annual set of dates for customers to enroll in new plans. At the same time, they moved the annual enrollment period for Medicare to the same period. This is open enrollment.
Though recent changes to the ACA are taking effect, no changes have occurred to Medicare. Open enrollment will proceed this year as planned.
When is Open Enrollment?
Dates for open enrollment for 2022 plans run from Nov. 1, 2021 to Dec. 15, 2021. The changes you make to your plan during this time will generally take effect January 1, 2022.
What Happens During Open Enrollment?
Basically, open enrollment is the time when you can make changes to your Medicare. Some of the action you can take at this time is to:
Add Medicare Part D to your Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans
Switch from Original Medicare (with or without Part D) to a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)
Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare
Choose a different Part D or Medicare Advantage plan
Certain qualifying individuals may enroll in Original Medicare for the first time.
If your Medicare provider will change or end offerings or costs for next year, they will notify you. This is the time when you may have to make changes.
Keep in mind, this is generally not the time most people enroll in Original Medicare (parts A&B) for the first time. In ordinary circumstances, you must do that from three months before to three months after you turn 65. If you fail to do so at that time, you could face penalties. If your birthday falls during open enrollment, you’ll need to get coverage through the end of 2021 and new coverage for 2022.
Use open enrollment to review your Medicare, regardless of whether you want changes. If you don’t, you generally must take no action during this time. However, if you do, speak to your Medicare agent about changing your coverage.