LEARNING CAFE RECAP: Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

Updated: Oct 6

By Joshua Hunter, Public Benefits Specialist



I am sure you all have seen the commercial advertising Medicare plans and exclaiming their greatness. We all know it is that time of year, the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, but I can hopefully provide some information you may not know!


The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is from October 15th to December 7th every year. During this timeframe, Medicare beneficiaries are advised to review their coverage for the upcoming year. The AEP applies to both original Medicare beneficiaries and those using Medicare Advantage plans. The original Medicare beneficiaries will specifically review their drug plan (PDP) for the upcoming, while those on Medicare Advantage review the entirety of their coverage. Since Medicare Advantage is an all-in-one option, the entire plan must be reviewed as a whole. Those on Medicare Advantage plans will also get a unique enrollment period, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MAOEP), from January 1st to March 31st to review options.


The obvious question is, “What if I like my coverage?” Whether your coverage was good, bad, or ugly, you need to check your options for the upcoming year. Medicare gives you this opportunity, and you do not want to give up your chance to make an informed decision. More importantly, the plans can change from top to bottom each year. They can change premiums, deductibles, copays, pharmacy contracts, and even their prescription formulary. Even if your situation has not changed, that does not mean your plan will stay the same. Many frustrated people come to me after AEP closes complaining about how they were forced to pay ridiculous prices for their medication simply because they did not check.


I am sure you are now thinking, “Well, how do you save money?” It’s simple. By checking your options and making informed decisions, you can save TONS of money. Using the Medicare.gov system, we can determine your ideal plan given your situation, your medications, and your preferred pharmacy. Each of these elements must be considered to optimize your coverage. It does not matter what plan your family member or friend uses, it only matters what works for you. For example, I noticed extreme changes in pharmacy contracts for 2021. By checking plans and adapting, we saved our clients $247,748! Let that number sink in! To make it even better, it only took thirty minutes on average to review and make changes. You have nothing to lose by checking, and a lot to potentially gain.


Mark your calendar now for next year’s Annual Open Enrollment: Oct. 15 – Dec. 7!

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