What Do I Need to Do After Open Enrollment Is Over?
Once Medicare’s Open Enrollment – also called Annual Enrollment Period, or AEP – is over, you might feel a bit on edge. Did I miss something? Am I forgetting something? Should I be doing something now?
We understand the feeling! While your Part D drug plan and Medicare Advantage plan (if applicable) is likely now taken care of, there are 4 things we recommend doing after Medicare's open enrollment is over.
1. Keep an Eye On Your Part D Drug Costs
During Medicare’s Open Enrollment, you likely signed up for a drug plan.
If that’s the case, it’s important now to keep an eye on your drug costs. Make sure your plan is covering your drugs properly, and if they decide to no longer cover your drug, ask your agent about filing an appeal.
In addition, if you’ve enrolled in a drug plan and want to make sure your enrollment went through, login to your My Medicare account at any time to confirm.
If you didn’t sign up for a drug plan but should have, you’ll likely have to wait until next year’s enrollment period (October 15-December 7).
If you choose not to carry a Part D drug plan when you become eligible, you will start incurring penalties. This happens if you go without Part D or creditable prescription drug coverage for any continuous period of 63 days or more after the end of your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP).
For every month you go without drug coverage, you’re penalized 1% of the national base beneficiary premium, which is added to your monthly Part D premium. For easy math, that’s around 33 cents per month (as of 2021). [Tip: Use this penalty calculator from Amplicare – it helps you calculate what your penalty would be.]
So, for every month you go without Part D coverage, you’re tacking on an extra 33 cents to your Part D premium when you do eventually sign up. That penalty is for life.
The only way you can sign up for a Part D plan outside of open enrollment is if you qualify for a special enrollment period (SEP).
Examples of SEPs include losing your insurance coverage or moving to an address that’s outside of your plan’s service area.
If you have any questions or need help figuring all of this out for yourself, please don’t hesitate to contact us here at Sams/Hockaday! You can give us a call at 217-423-8000 or even schedule an appointment using our Online Scheduling system.
2. Evaluate Your Medicare Advantage Plan
This is called the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. (This did recently change – it used to be a different timeframe, and it used to be called the Disenrollment Period.)
Many individuals try out a Medicare Advantage Plan and decide that the coverage isn’t all they hoped it would be. Maybe you realized your favorite doctor isn’t in your network, or you didn’t fully understand the deductibles and copays. If that might be you, be sure to tell your agent before the end of March.
You have the option to switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan, or you can go back to Original Medicare and join a Medicare drug plan.
Please note that you can’t switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan during this time. You also can’t switch drug plans if you’re on Original Medicare.
3. Do Your Medicare Supplement Annual Review
While Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period is a great time to meet with your agent, it might not be the best time to review your Medicare Supplement.
The enrollment period (October 7-December 15) is typically the only time of year you can make changes to or enroll in a Medicare Part D drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan.
Assuming you sign up for Medicare when you are first eligible, you generally purchase your Medicare Supplement around your 65th birthday. As you know, birthdays can fall at any time during the year.
If your birthday falls outside of the October 7-December 15 enrollment period, you might want to meet with your agent again to do an annual review.
The annual reviews here at Sams/Hockaday are a 100% free service, and it’s something you should absolutely take advantage of.
If you’re a current client, there’s nothing you need to do. Your Sams/Hockaday agent will contact you around your policy anniversary date to schedule an appointment.
Your annual review is a great time to make sure you’re up to date and that your plan is still the most competitive plan on the market. If you’ve had recent rate increases, your agent can see if you’ll qualify to switch companies to potentially save on premium.
Who knows? Perhaps you’ll walk out of your annual review with some great cost savings!
4. Talk With Your Agent About Your Medicare and Retirement Plan
The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is the “busy season” for insurance agents and agencies, while January through March is generally a bit slower.
This is a fantastic time to set an appointment with your agent to cover your overall Medicare and retirement plan.
Here are some questions you can go over with your agent:
- What are your long-term goals?
- Are there any current financial risks you need to be aware of?
- Are you earning safe, guaranteed interest on your nest egg?
- Do you have a plan for your 401(k), IRA, or another retirement account if you’re no longer contributing to it?
Because this is a slower time of year, there isn’t a sense of urgency, and you can really take the time to make a solid financial plan for your retirement.
Our team at Sams/Hockaday does a Medicare Planner, which evaluates your personal risks and needs and makes personalized recommendations based on your situation. This is a free service we offer to anyone who is getting ready for Medicare or who is already on Medicare.
If you’d like us to do a personalized Medicare Planner for you, please go to the scheduling page to choose whether you want to come to our office or have us come to your home.
Do You Need Help After Open Enrollment Is Over?
If you ever need help with Medicare or retirement planning, our team here at Sams/Hockaday is ready to help.
In fact, here are all of the things we can help you with, no matter the time of year:
- Medicare enrollment
- Social Security questions
- Medicare Supplements
- Medicare Advantage
- Medicare MSA
- Prescription Drug Plans
- Cancer, Heart Attack, and Stroke Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Final Expense Insurance
- Long-Term Care Solutions
- Dental, Vision, and Hearing Insurance
- Retirement planning
- Price shopping and doing plan comparisons for any type of insurance coverage
We consider ourselves a full-service agency, and we’ll do whatever we can to make sure your plan is financially sound. Thanks for reading, and call us at 217-423-8000 if you need anything at all!
Article updated on December 8, 2020 with 2021 information
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