What Should You Know About The 2021 Medicare Signup Period?
Every year, from October 15 to December 7, is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. This is your opportunity to sign up for Medicare if you haven’t already, or to make changes to your existing plans.
Even if you’re happy with your current Medicare coverage, it’s a good idea to stay up-to-date because plans and options change every year as well. A great California insurance broker can help you with Medicare signup, or make it easier for you to compare various options to find the best combination of Medicare services for your needs.
It’s also important to take advantage of this AEP window, because once it’s gone, you’ll have missed out. You may not be able to make the changes you need, or else you’d be looking at steep fees for late enrollment. It’s much better to stay on top of the situation!
So, we’ve put together some of the most important information you should know for the 2021 Medicare enrollment period.
1. The Medicare Website Has Been Improved
Here’s some good news for people who prefer to handle their Medicare signup for themselves: the medicare.gov website has been redesigned, and it’s now much easier to make comparisons between various plans.
The MyMedicare account system has been improved as well, allowing you to easily create prescription drug lists that make it easier to find appropriate Medicare Part D coverage.
2. Now Is Your Chance To Change Your Medicare Advantage Coverage
Not all types of Medicare coverage can be changed, but you have a lot of options when it comes to Medicare Advantage, aka Medicare Part C. The most common changes people make during the AEP is to their Medicare Advantage coverage.
For example, you can switch from Medicare Original (Parts A and B) to Advantage, or decide to move from Advantage to A and B. You can also shop between all the various Medicare Advantage providers, looking for better plans, or updating your supplemental prescription drug coverage. Changing or updating vision / dental plans is another possibility.
Basically, this is your best chance to refine your existing Medicare coverage, or make changes based on medical events in the past year.
If you aren’t sure what Medicare Advantage program would be right for you, or you’re having difficulty sorting through your options, a California insurance broker can be a big help here!
3. Updating Your Medicare Part D Prescription Plans
The 2021 AEP is also your best opportunity to make changes to the prescription drug coverage you get under Medicare Part D. Take a moment to think back over the past year. Have you started taking new prescription drugs that you weren’t taking last year, or have you stopped taking certain drugs?
If so, you may be able to find a new Part D plan that better fits your current health situation. With either the online MyMedicare system, or with the help of an insurance broker, you can compare plans that include all the prescription drugs you need.
4. Remember To Compare Deductibles!
One common mistake we often see people make during Medicare signup is only looking at monthly prices when picking plans. Unfortunately, this is only part of the story when it comes to Medicare costs.
Most of the time, if a plan has extremely low monthly fees, those are balanced out by a high deductible. Basically, as long as you’re healthy, you might save money – but should a medical emergency hit, you could be looking at extremely high out-of-pocket expenses before your coverage begins to pay out.
We typically advise our clients to balance monthly costs against potential deductibles. Going with the cheapest plan you can find is a real gamble.
5. What Can You Do If You Miss The Signup Window?
Unfortunately, if you miss the AEP enrollment window, you’ll be in a bad situation. First-time Medicare enrollees can potentially enroll late, but pay steep fees as a penalty. For those who are already enrolled, you’ll simply miss your opportunity to make changes.
In particular, if you’re on Medicare Advantage, the only change you could make after the AEP window would be to switch from Advantage to Original Medicare (A & B). This could be done after the new year.
Otherwise, you’ll be out of luck. That’s why we strongly recommend everyone start looking at their Medicare options early, to make sure they can take advantage of the AEP window.
Good & Associates Makes Medicare Signup Easy!
We are one of California’s top insurance brokers, and we specialize in easy Medicare enrollment. We have contacts with all the major insurance companies across California, and can help you put together the right combination of insurance options to fit your health needs and your budget.