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Medicare Advantage FAQs

Medicare Overview FAQ

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1. When Can I Enroll In A Medicare Advantage Plan

The primary times to enroll for Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D prescription drug plans are:

  • During your Initial Coverage Enrollment Period which is usually the seven month period beginning three months before and ending three months after your 65th birthday month.  Plans (and Medicare) are always effective the first of the month. If your birthday is the first of the month, your birth month is considered to be the first day of the preceding month; or
  • During the Annual Election Period (AEP) which starts October 15 and ends December 7. The effective date of enrollment is the following January 1. This is the time to review your present plans and coverages and decide if you want to make any changes. Unless you have a special election period, this is the only other time (see the following note for the exception) you can enroll in or change to a different Medicare Advantage or Part D Prescription drug plan.

NOTE:  see the answer to FAQ 2 following that describes the  Open Enrollment Period that was first implemented in 2019.  Members who have previously enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan can change to a different Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan on a one-time basis between January 1 and March 31.Those who have enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Plan during their initial coverage enrollment period (as defined above) have a three month period starting with the Part A and B effective dates after the effective date of enrollment to switch to a different Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan.

2. What Is The Open Enrollment Period?

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (which formerly ran from January 1 to February 14) was eliminated in 2019 and replaced by the Open Enrollment Period, which runs from January 1 through March 31. During this period a person enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan can elect to return to Original Medicare and also select a Medicare Supplement Plan and stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan OR make a one-time change to a different Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug plan. A beneficiary who elects a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Plan during his initial coverage election period (see FAQ 1 for definition) can also choose a different Medicare Advantage or Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan -- or switch back to “Original Medicare” (Parts A and B) -- for up to three months after his or her Part A and B effective dates with or without a Medicare Supplement Plan or a stand-alone Part D Prescription Drug plan.

The primary reason for making this change in enrollment periods is that some members find that the network for their Medicare Advantage plan is inadequate or that their primary or specialist doctor(s) may have left the network. This Open Enrollment Period provides these members an opportunity to change to a plan that corrects this problem.

An individual with a Medicare Supplement or with "Original Medicare" (only) cannot make an election during this period, nor can an individual with a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan switch to another stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan.

3. What Is A Special Enrollment Period?

These individuals are eligible for special election periods that permit them to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan throughout the year: 

  • *Medicaid beneficiaries
  • *Individuals on low income subsidy ("extra help" in paying for prescription drugs);
  • People with chronic conditions like diabetes, chronic heart failure, COPD, and dementia (if a plan specializing in their condition exists in their service area);
  • People moving out of a plan’s service area; and
  • Those affected by other situations (including plan termination or insolvency).

* Effective starting 2019, Medicaid and "extra help" beneficiaries (who formerly could change plans at any time with an effective date the first of the following month) can change plans once per calendar quarter.  If a change is made in the first three quarters, the change is effective the first of the following month.  If a change is made during the annual election period (October 15-December 7), the change is effective the following January 1. The special election period chart (first line above) has not yet been updated to reflect this change.

Please call us at 877-734-3884 for additional details including eligibility, available enrollment dates and help in enrolling.

4. What Special Enrollment Procedures Apply To Five-Star Plans?

A special enrollment period permits eligible beneficiaries to enroll in a five-star plan at any time of the year between December 8 of the current year and November 30th of the following year for a first of the following month effective date. LEARN MORE.

5. Where Can I Find Available Plans?

For a complete listing of plans available in your service area please contact 1-800-Medicare or go to the Medicare Plan Finder at www.medicare.gov (TTY users should call 877-486-2048)

Your copy of Medicare & You 2019 also contains a generalized listing of the plans available in your area for 2019 but these listings do not contain complete details. You should consult the Summary of Benefits or Evidence of Coverage for each plan for more information.

Call us at 877-734-3884 for more information and help in enrolling in a plan.

2020 Schedule
Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment
November 1, 2019 Open Enrollment begins.
December 15, 2019 is the last day to enroll for 2020 on the federal facilitated marketplace.
January 1, 2020 Coverage starts.

2020 Schedule
Medicare Annual Enrollment Period
October 1, 2019 Pre-enrollment period starts. 2020 plans can be discussed.
October 15, 2019 Enrollment starts.
December 7, 2019 is the last day to enroll for a 2020 plan.
January 1, 2020 Coverage starts.

family consulting

We offer a comprehensive set of Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) plans

to individuals and families qualified to buy health (tax- and non-tax subsidized) insurance and dental/vision and/or hearing plans through the Federal marketplace (this is called buying “on-exchange” or “on-marketplace”) or directly from insurance carriers (this is referred to as buying “off-exchange or -marketplace”). Our Affordable Care Act policies comply with the Affordable Care Act and contain all of the “essential health benefits” required by that law.

The dental/vision and/or hearing insurance

products are available both on an insured or discount basis

We offer short-term health insurance policies

for those who are looking for more inexpensive coverage and shorter term alternatives.

We offer Medicare Supplement, Medicare Advantage, and Part D Drug plans

to Medicare beneficiaries. Our site is compliant with federal, state, and carrier guidelines in selling these policies. See the Medicare section of this site for details.

We represent many carriers that offer supplemental benefits

to both individuals and families and Medicare beneficiaries, and the site contains information about hospital indemnity, cancer, critical illness, gap, accident, and international medical insurance offered by many different carriers. This section of the site also contains valuable information and tools about lowering the cost of prescription medications. Call us if you want more information about or would like to enroll in one of these products.

We also offer Short- and Long-Term Disability products

and can also help you meet the costs of long-term care, nursing home, or short-term (recovery) care needs.

Finally, we have a complete array of Life, Final Expense, and Annuity products

and offer pre-need services in Florida, as we have both life insurance and pre-need licenses in that state.

You pay nothing for our services:

we’re paid directly from the carriers we represent, Premiums are NEVER EVER marked up to include paying us for our services: you pay the same whether you order directly from the carrier or the marketplace on your own or directly through us or from our site.

We ONLY offer alternatives that are suitable for you and for which we feel meet YOUR needs.
When or if we feel a product or service is not appropriate for you from either a cost or benefit point of view we will tell you so.

We’re fully compliant with privacy and security guidelines, have signed all required privacy and security agreements, have developed a privacy and security policy, and take extraordinary steps to safeguard your protected health and personal information.
In short, we’re experts in all aspects of health and life insurance and also have relationships with professionals who can help you with very specialized situations.

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