FAQ about Medicare Open Enrollment

When is Medicare Open Enrollment for 2018 coverage?

For 2018 Medicare coverage, open enrollment is in the fall of 2017, from October 15 to December 7. 
During this annual enrollment period (AEP)  you can make changes to various aspects of your coverage.

  • You can switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa.
  • You can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another.
  • And if you didn’t enroll in a Medicare Part D plan when you were first eligible, you can do so during the general open enrollment, although a late enrollment penalty may apply.

If you want to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, you must meet some basic criteria.

  • You must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and B.
  • You must live in the plan’s service area.

Is there any type of auto-renewal available for Medicare?

If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan and you don’t want to make changes to your coverage for 2018, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment, assuming your current plan will still be available in 2018. If your plan is being discontinued and isn’t eligible for renewal, you will receive a non-renewal notice from your carrier prior to open enrollment. If you don’t, it means you can keep your plan without doing anything during open enrollment.

What changes to Medicare should I be aware of for 2018?

Starting in April 2018, Medicare beneficiaries will begin receiving new Medicare ID cards that don’t have Social Security numbers on them. This change was announced in September 2017, and it’s an effort to combat identity theft and fraud. The new cards, which will be mailed out over the course of a year (all beneficiaries will have them by April 2019), will have randomly generated ID numbers instead of Social Security numbers. You can continue to use your current card until your new one arrives

When can I Enroll in Original Medicare if I didn’t sign up when I was first eligible?

If you didn’t sign up for Medicare A and B when you were first eligible, you have a chance to do so each year from January 1 to March 31, with coverage effective July 1.  You may be subject to a late enrollment penalty however.  For Medicare Part B, the penalty is an additional 10 percent of the premium for each 12 month period that you were eligible but not enrolled.

How does Medicaid help people with low incomes pay medical bills?

There are Medicaid programs that pay some or all of Medicare's premiums and may also pay deductibles and coinsurance for certain people who qualify for Medicare and need financial assistance.

For more information about Medicaid coverage in your state and to see whether you qualify, call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) for Medicare Participants at 877-801-0044. 

 

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