Let’s face it, Medicare is confusing!  What exactly does open enrollment mean? What is the period for open enrollment? How is 2019 different?

2019, is a huge year for Medicare beneficiaries, there are many changes and most of them are beneficial. In 2010, lawmakers did away with the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. The 21st Century Cures Act means that now they are bringing it back, starting January 1st

It can be confusing when talking about the Open Enrollment Period, since many different enrollment periods are called “Open Enrollment Period”, accurately and inaccurately. This Open Enrollment Period will begin on January 1 and end on March 31.

During this time beneficiaries get a one-time opportunity to change from Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan. You could also dis-enroll for the Medicare Advantage program all together and switch to Traditional Medicare.

“Open Enrollment Period” Confusion

Every New York Medicare beneficiary has heard the term “Open Enrollment Period” before, especially if they’ve been on Medicare for a while. Well, for those that get confused easily, this is for you:

Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period

Medigap Plans Open Enrollment Period is for beneficiaries that just turned 65 or are new to Medicare. This Open Enrollment Period lasts for 6 months and begins on the first day of the month that you turn 65 and are enrolled into Medicare Part B.

For example, if you turn 65 on April 8 and then you join Medicare Part B on May 19. Your Medicare Supplement Enrollment will start on June 1, which is the first day of the month in which you will be both 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B.

The returning Open Enrollment Period is for Medicare Advantage plan beneficiaries that either wish to change MA plans or return to Original Medicare.

Inaccurately called “Open Enrollment Period”

Medicare can be complicated, especially with all the different enrollment periods. It’s important for California state residents to understand the all types of enrollment periods.

The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is from October 15 through December 7, this enrollment period has been inaccurately called the Open Enrollment Period.

When Medicare beneficiaries turn 65, they become eligible for the Initial Enrollment Period, this gives beneficiaries 7 months to enroll into a Medicare Advantage plan. This enrollment period is commonly mistaken for an Open Enrollment Period, it could possibly be getting mixed up with the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period.

The Open Enrollment Period Explained

Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period will replace the Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) that was from January 1 until February 14 of every year.

The MADP was an opportunity to disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan, then return to Original Medicare. The option to enroll in another plan wasn’t available to Medicare recipients during this time.

Now, things are changing for beneficiaries for the better. The new Medicare changes of 2019 will make changing from the unsuitable Medicare Advantage plan to a more suitable plan, possible.

Medicare eligible beneficiaries that are enrolled in a stand-alone Part D prescription drug plan need to make changes to their Part D Prescription Drug plan during AEP (October 15 through December 7 of every year).

Each year by September 30th, Medicare Advantage recipients will receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) from their existing insurance carrier for their Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription drug plan providers.

When beneficiaries receive this information, it’s their responsibility to note changes and adjust their coverage if needed.

Medicare Part A and B Increases in 2019

  • Part B premium – The new premium for 2019 will be $135.50 which is only $1.50 more per month.
  • Part B deductible – The Part B deductible will increase from $183 to $185 in 2019. Beneficiaries with a Medicare Supplement Plan C or Plan F have coverage for this deductible.
  • Part A premium – Most beneficiaries don’t have to pay a Medicare Part A premium, but if you worked less than 40 quarters then you should expect to see an increase. The full premium increased $15 since last year to $437 a month for 2019.
  • Part A deductible – The Part A deductible will increase $24 and be $1,340 in 2019. Beneficiaries with Traditional Medicare as their only coverage will be expected to pay this as they are admitted to the hospital.



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