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What if You Missed the Annual Enrollment Period?

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You had every intention of making a change to your health insurance during Medicare’s annual enrollment period (AEP), which runs each year from October 15–December 7. But life got busy, and you totally spaced signing up for a new plan. So…what now? Here’s what you need to know if you miss the Medicare fall open enrollment.

For a full explanation of the Medicare enrollment periods check out our blog, AEP, IEP, ICEP, GEP, OEP, SEP…Medicare Enrollment Periods Explained

You’ll Be Reenrolled Automatically in Your Current Plan, as Long as It’s Still Offered Where You Live.

If you’re already signed up for Medicare, you won’t lose your coverage if you do nothing during the AEP; your coverage will simply continue in the new year. However, it’s important to note that coverage and costs can change year to year, so your current plan may not be the best option for your budget and health care needs next year.

You May Face Medicare Late Enrollment Penalties.

If you don’t already have coverage and miss the AEP sign up, you may have to pay late enrollment penalties. Late enrollment penalties are not one-time late fees; they’re added to your monthly premiums and can be charged for as long as you have that type of coverage. The longer you wait to sign up, the higher late enrollment penalties get, so it’s important to enroll on time!

Learn more about late enrollment penalties and how much they cost.

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You May Be Able To Wait And Make Changes During a Different Enrollment Period.

Consider if you can sign up for a new plan during any of these other Medicare enrollment periods:

  • If you need to sign up for Medicare Part A and/or B for the first time, you can do this during the General Enrollment Period, January 1–March 31.
  • If you already have a Medicare Advantage plan and want to switch plans or change to Original Medicare, you can do this during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, January 1–March 31.
  • If you experience certain life events, like moving or losing your coverage, then you may qualify for a special enrollment period.
  • You could wait for next year’s fall AEP, when you can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (or vice versa), change Medicare Advantage plans, or switch Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. Mark these important AEP dates on your calendar so you don’t miss a thing!
  • You may be able to switch plans during the 5-star special enrollment period, December 8–November 30 the following year. During this time, you can switch from your current Medicare plan to a Medicare plan in your area that’s rated five stars based on feedback from plan members and health care providers.

Missing Medicare’s annual enrollment period isn’t ideal if it means you end up paying penalties. However, there are several opportunities throughout the year to make changes and sign up for coverage.  Comparing options and finding the best plan for your needs can help you enjoy better coverage and save money!

Colonial Penn is here for you!

Colonial Penn has specialized in making life insurance simple and accessible by offering it directly to consumers since 1957. Click here to learn more.

Colonial Penn is a private company that is not Medicare, Medicaid or MaineCare and is not a governmental agency

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