Prepare for Medicare

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Medicare Advantage plan?

Medicare Advantage plans include the benefits of Medicare Part A and Part B and usually much more. If you already have Part A (hospital) and you’re paying Part B (medical) premiums, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have a contract with Medicare to provide coverage and tie together all of your Parts A and B (and often Part D Prescription Drug) benefits.

I have Original Medicare. Why would I consider a Medicare Advantage plan?

Because Medicare alone will only cover 80% of your costs, and does not include the many added benefits that come with a Medicare Advantage plan, such as prescription drug coverage, a fitness benefit or hearing, dental and vision benefits.

I’m turning 65 soon. When can I enroll in Medicare?

You can enroll in Medicare three months before and up to three months after your 65th birthday, giving you a 7-month window to enroll. If you’re not already receiving Social Security benefits, you’ll need to contact the Social Security Administration to enroll. Once you’re enrolled in Medicare, you can select the Experience Health Medicare AdvantageSM (HMO) plan for added benefits like prescription drug coverage, a fitness membership and a wide choice of doctors, hospitals and specialists.

Why is the Annual Enrollment Period so important?

The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs from October 15 to December 7. It’s your chance each year to review your options and switch Medicare Advantage plans. It is the only time when you can …

  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Switch from Original Medicare (and a Medicare Supplement plan if you have one) to a Medicare Advantage plan. You may find a plan with lower premiums, more freedom to choose doctors or more benefits than your current plan.
Is it hard to switch my Medicare coverage?

No. You can simply enroll in a different plan during the Annual Enrollment Period. You’ll be automatically disenrolled from your current plan, and your new coverage will start on January 1.

Can I switch plans outside of Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period?

October 15 to December 7 is the time each year when you can make a change in Medicare Advantage plan coverage, unless you qualify for the Special Enrollment Period (SEP). To qualify for the SEP, you must have certain events happen in your life, such as a move that puts you outside of your plan’s service area or becoming eligible for Medicaid or the Extra Help program for prescription drugs. Visit medicare.gov for more information.

What if I’m not happy after switching to my new plan?

You’ll be glad to know that there’s an Open Enrollment Period, or OEP. This runs from January 1 to March 31.

You have 90 days to try your new plan, and can switch out of it any time during that 90-day period.

For many people, this takes the pressure off switching to a new plan. Keep in mind: You can only change once, from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan. You can also leave a Medicare Advantage plan and return to Original Medicare (and a Part D drug plan). This period does not necessarily apply to Medicare Supplement plans.

I just enrolled in Medicare for the first time this year. When can I switch coverage?

You have a few options, depending on when you enrolled, and what your circumstances are:

  • You can switch your Medicare coverage during next year’s Annual Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7
  • If you just enrolled during this year’s Annual Enrollment Period, you can switch during the Open Enrollment Period, which runs from January to March of the following year
  • If you’ve moved to a new area, or had another qualifying life event, you can enroll during what’s called a Special Enrollment Period

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