- August 5, 2020
Today we’re going to talk about fixing a mistake you made during the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). If you don’t know what the AEP is or what kind of mistakes you might make during the AEP, don’t worry, we’re going to explain everything.
Annual Enrollment Period: A Brief Review
Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) occurs every year from October 15th to December 7th. During this seven-week period, you can switch Medicare plans. Here’s a brief overview of the switches you can make during the AEP.
First, you can switch from your current prescription drug plan to any other drug plan included in your market, no health questions asked. Second, you can switch Advantage plans. If you're on an Advantage plan but want to enroll in a different one, you can do so during the AEP. The only thing that can keep you from making the switch to a new Advantage plan is if you have end-stage renal disease (kidney failure).
Third, you can switch from an Advantage plan to a Supplemental plan during the AEP. Keep in mind, if you switch from an Advantage to a Supplemental plan, you typically have to medically qualify. Fourth and finally, you can switch from a Supplemental plan to an Advantage plan during the AEP. Again, as long as you don’t have end-stage renal disease, you will be free to make that switch during the AEP (between October 15th and December 7th). When you make a switch in plans during the AEP, your new plan goes into effect on January 1st of the following year.
Fixing A Mistake You Made During Annual Enrollment Period
Let's suppose you switched plans during the seven-week AEP, but after finalizing the switch, you realize you’ve made a mistake. What can you do now? Fortunately, Medicare knows mistakes happen and some people will end up regretting their switch, so they make provisions to allow you to fix your mistake.
January 1 -- March 31: Open Enrollment Period
If you made a mistake during the AEP, you can only fix it during the first three months of the year. This first quarter of the year is called the Open Enrollment Period or OEP (not to be confused with the AEP that lasts from October 15th to December 7th).
Let’s look at what you can and cannot do to correct mistakes during the open enrollment period.
What You Can Do:
Advantage ----> Advantage
If you switched to an Advantage plan during the AEP and are unhappy with that choice for some reason (maybe your doctor wasn’t in the network), you can move to a new Advantage plan during the first three months of the year. Again, the only health question you’ll have to answer is whether you have end-stage renal disease.
Drop Advantage ----> Original Medicare
The second thing you can do during the first quarter of the year is to drop your Advantage plan. Maybe you went on an Advantage plan for the first time or you've been on one for a while but for some reason, you decide you don’t like the Advantage plan system. During the first three months of the year, you’re allowed to drop the Advantage plan and return to original Medicare A and B. And when you do this during the first quarter, you can add a prescription drug plan without answering any health questions. However, if you decide to enroll in a Supplemental plan (to supplement the gaps in original Medicare coverage), you will more than likely have to go through medical underwriting and be approved.
What You Can’t Do:
No Rx Plan Switches
You cannot change prescription drug plans during the first quarter of the year. So the prescription drug plan you selected during the Annual Enrollment Period (from October 15th through December 7th), will be your plan for the entire year.
Drop Supplemental ----> Advantage Plan
If you are on a Supplemental plan, you cannot drop that plan and switch to an Advantage plan during the first quarter of the year. You will have to wait until the next Annual Enrollment Period.
If you’ve made a mistake during the Annual Enrollment Period, Medicare makes some allowances for you to correct the mistake. Keep in mind, you can only correct mistakes during the first three months of the year known as the Open Enrollment Period (OEP).
During the OEP, you can switch from your current Advantage plan to a different Advantage plan and you can drop your Advatnage plan and return to original Medicare. If you return to Original Medicare during this time, you can also enroll in a drug plan, no health questions asked.
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