Q&A: OPEN ENROLLMENT

Dear Marci,
What changes can I make during Fall Open Enrollment?
– Herman (Chattanooga, TN)

Dear Herman,
Fall Open Enrollment, also known as the Annual Election Period, runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year. This is the time of the year when Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their existing coverage.

If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan or a stand-alone Part D plan, your plan should send you an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) that lists any changes to your plan for 2017. These changes could be that the plan will charge a different monthly premium, cover different services, or change its formulary (the plan’s list of covered drugs).

Read this notice carefully to see if any of the changes affect you. For instance, if your ANOC tells you that your Part D plan will have an annual deductible next year, you may want to choose a new plan. There are a number of changes you can make during Fall Open Enrollment, all of which will become effective January 1.

You can:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare
  • Switch from your current Medicare Advantage Plan to a new one
  • Join a Part D prescription drug plan (if you do not have one)
  • Switch from your current Part D prescription drug plan to a new one
  • Do nothing; stay with current coverage

If you have questions about your coverage, plan options, or just need help in general, try calling 1-800-MEDICARE to learn about plan options in your area, confirm your current coverage, or change your coverage. To find a plan, visit Medicare.gov/find-a-plan.

Also check out the site’s online tool to search for and compare plans. Fall Open Enrollment is a time to consider all of your health care options and needs. Even if you decide not to change your benefits, it’s a good idea to review your coverage and be prepared for any changes that may put in place for 2017.

– Marci

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