Medicare’s Annual Election Period began October 15th and continues through December 7th. During this time, beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan administered by a private insurance company may disenroll and return to the traditional Medicare program (Parts A and B) administered by the federal government, or vice versa. To switch back to the traditional Medicare program, call 1-800-MEDICARE. This is also the time to enroll or change plans under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit, which is administered exclusively by private insurance companies. You can shop for a plan at medicare.gov.
There are only 45 days, November 1 – December 15, to enroll in a health insurance plan available on the marketplace (Affordable Care Act). Coverage is effective January 1, 2018. It is important to act quickly to ensure you are covered in 2018. After December 15th you cannot enroll in a 2018 ACA plan unless you qualify for a special enrollment period. Until this year, enrollment extended from November 1 through January 31, however the Trump administration reduced the enrollment period by one-half. To enroll or change plans, call 1-800-318-2596 or visit www.healthcare.gov.
Generally, if you are enrolled in a private insurance plan under the ACA or Medicare, you will be automatically enrolled in the same plan for the following year, unless you take action to change plans or disenroll. While automatic renewal is convenient, you should always review the annual changes in your plan, as these changes may affect your access to benefits, medications, and providers. In addition, there may be another plan available that lowers your out-of-pocket expenses.