Tag Archives: medicare part b

medicare open enrollment

2016 Medicare Open Enrollment

Most people don’t realize that the 2016 Medicare Open Enrollment Dates only apply to people who are wanting to make changes to their Medicare Advantage (Part C of Medicare) and prescription drug plan (Part D of Medicare). Each year, open enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7. Therefore in 2016 it will begin on October 15, 2015. That is the time for you to shop around for a new Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C of Medicare) or a new Prescription Drug plan (Part D of Medicare).

So first of, to be clear, as far as enrolling in Medicare, you can do that as soon as you are eligible … no matter what month it is. Most people become eligible when they turn 65, and begin enrolling in Part B up to 3 months before their 65th birthday month.

It is only during open enrollment that you can switch from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (Part C of Medicare), or vice versa. Also, if you find that another Medicare Advantage plan (Part C of Medicare) will fit your needs, or has a broader network, you can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan (Part C of Medicare) to another. Same with a prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D), you can switch from one plan to another during open enrollment or drop your prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D) coverage altogether. However, you may incur penalties later on if you go without a prescription drug plan (Part D of Medicare) – we would not advise this. Especially since you can get prescription drug plans (Part D of Medicare) for generally under $20 a month.

Now for people who are on a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C of Medicare), who miss the open enrollment but who just want to go back to original Medicare, there is also a Medicare Advantage disenrollment period (MADP) that runs from January 1 to February 14 each year. At that time, you could opt to switch back to original Medicare and then sign up for a prescription only plan (Medicare Part D). Most people will do this if they are going from a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C of Medicare) to a Medicare Supplement Plan.

For 2015 coverage, open enrollment is over for Medicare. Medicare Advantage (Part C of Medicare) and prescription drug plans (Medicare Part D) ended on December 7, 2014, and the Medicare Advantage disenrollment period ended on February 14, 2015. Remember, you can enroll year-round in Medicare if you are newly-eligible.

For more information or to shop plans, visit us at www.emedigap411.com  call 877-740-8683 or email.

Medigap Plan G for the Future

For years we have beleived that Plan F was “the choice” for a Medicare Supplement, or Medigap, plan. There have been several changes in recent years, though,  that have made the Plan G Medigap policy more attractive. When Modernized Medicare Supplement plans were introduced in June 2010, that made the coverage gap narrower between the Plan F and Plan G. Now, the only difference between the two plans is that with Plan G you are responsible for your Part B Deductible. In 2012, the Part B Deductible was $140, and in 2013 it is $147. It really makes sense to choose Plan G, if there is ever an annual price difference that is greater than the Part B Deductible. Another factor that is becoming more important is Guaranteed Issue. In a Guaranteed Issue situation, an unhealthy person, with pre-existing conditions, can purchase a Plan F Medicare Supplement, but would have to qualify for a Plan G. That means there are potentially more sick people, with higher claims, enrolled in the Plan F. That has caused many carriers to have steep rate increases for their Plan F policies, while keeping the Plan G premiums more stable. The Affordable Care Act also spawned a recent move to either impose cost sharing on plans that have 1st dollar coverage, like the Plan F, or to place a surcharge on these plans. While these changes haven’t happened yet, we have encouraged our current Plan F customers, to look at changing to a Plan G. If you have a current Plan F Medicare Supplement, and are in good health, you owe it to yourself to take a look at the Plan G. We consider it the wave of the future.

For more information, or a free, no obligation quote, please visit www.emedigap411.com , or call 877-740-8683, to speak to a licensed agent.

Medicare Part B and COBRA

Over the years we have found there is a lot of confusion concerning Medicare Part B and COBRA. Many people think that as long as they have COBRA, they don’t need Medicare Part B. Unfortunately, the special rule for delaying Part B is based on current employment(either you or your spouse). COBRA is not considered current employment coverage. Most people are able to delay enrolling in Part B, as long as they are still working. Once the employment ends, however, the clock starts ticking. You will have 8 months to sign up for Part B without a penalty. If you wait for COBRA to end, or go past the 8 months, you can be subject to a penalty of 10% of your Part B premium for each year that you were not enrolled. And that penalty stays with you as long as you have Medicare. Even more important, if you miss that deadline, you would have to wait until the next General Enrollment Period(from January 1st until March 31st each year), and your Part B coverage wouldn’t start until July 1st. This could have devastating consequences if a serious illness were to strike during that time. Another important thing to remember is that your Medigap Open Enrollment Period begins when you are both 65 and enrolled in Part B. This is a one time opportunity to purchase a Medicare Supplement policy, regardless of your health conditions. Some people go back to work, or get on a spouse’s current employment coverage, after enrolling in Part B. At this time, you may be able to disenroll from Part B, and enroll at a later time(such as when that employment ends), without a penalty. This can sometimes be a good strategy, but it is important to remember that your Medigap Open Enrollment doesn’t re-start. With more people working longer, delaying Social Security, or Part B, it more important now than ever to have good advice on your Medicare choices and deadlines. Please call at 877-740-8683, for a personal review of your situation.