You saw all the mailers, the TV ads, all the online information, but somehow you still managed to forget the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP). And now you’re wondering: What will happen to your Medicare coverage? Not to worry. Even if you missed Medicare Annual Enrollment, you may still be able to make changes before next year’s AEP.
Yes, if you missed Medicare Annual Enrollment, you still have coverage in 2020. Your current coverage simply rolls over to next year.
If you’ll still have coverage, you may wonder why we push AEP so hard. The answer is simple: Plans change from year to year, sometimes substantially. Doctors leave networks, drug formularies change, options expand, prices go up and down. That’s why a plan that was great for you this year may not be the best choice next year.
Starting January 1, beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan may make changes during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.
Changes you can make during Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment:
Changes you cannot make during Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment:
You have until March 31 to act. Any changes you make become effective on the first day of the following month.
Medicare offers Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) for those who meet certain qualifications known as special circumstances. There are literally dozens of ways to qualify for an SEP. The general categories, though, are as follows:
Other miscellaneous qualifying circumstances include:
For each qualifying life event, you get at least two full months to make changes to your Medicare coverage without incurring a late penalty. Some special circumstances give you more time but again, there are dozens of them. Please refer to the above link for complete information about Special Enrollment Periods.
If you weren’t already enrolled in Medicare when Annual Enrollment began, you couldn’t participate even if you wanted to. However, you still have two options to get Medicare coverage in 2020. Which option you choose depends on when you became eligible for Medicare.
Your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) lasts a full 7 months. It begins three months before the month of your birthday and ends three months after your birth month.
While changes made during AEP take effect on January 1, your coverage start date varies under the IEP.
Our Medicare 101 post is a great starting point for anyone new to the Medicare program.
If you missed your IEP and don’t qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, the General Enrollment Period (GEP) is available.
General Enrollment occurs every year between January 1 and March 31. You can do all the same things you could have during your IEP. However, your coverage will not begin until July 1.
Depending on how long you delayed enrollment, you may owe late penalties. These may be substantial, which is why it’s so important to sign up for Medicare during your IEP if you do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Most people don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A. However, if you did not pay Medicare taxes for the required 40 quarters (i.e. 10 years), your premium is $437 in 2020 ($252 if you worked at least 30 quarters).
Your penalty is 10 percent for twice the number of years you delayed signing up.
And so on. Again, you only owe this penalty if you don’t qualify for premium-free Part A.
As with Part A, the Part B late penalty is based on your monthly premium. Unlike Part A, however, you pay this late penalty for the entire time you have Part B.
Part B’s late penalty is 10 percent for every full 12-month period that you delayed enrollment.
And so on. The standard Part B premium in 2020 is $144.60.
The Part D penalty is a bit different. You owe it any time you go 63 days or more without having creditable prescription drug coverage. Like Part B, though, you pay this penalty for the entire time you have Medicare Part D.
Part D’s penalty is 1 percent of the national base beneficiary premium times the number of months you went without coverage. That number is then rounded to the nearest dime. The calculation for 2020 looks like this:
If you missed Medicare Annual Enrollment, you may still be able to make changes if you have a Medicare Advantage plan or qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.
Our Find a Plan tool lets you begin comparing your plan options. Just enter your location and coverage start date.
Chris Gasparini has been a licensed insurance agent since 2005. He enjoys helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate their options to find the best solution for their unique needs. Chris feels as though his work truly helps people. Because he represents multiple insurance companies and plan types, Chris is able to help Medicare beneficiaries find the best, most cost-effective plan. Every day, he leaves work knowing he did what was right for each and every client he serves.
The MedicareUSA website is operated by HealthPlanOne, LLC a licensed health insurance agency based in Connecticut; in California d/b/a HPOne Insurance Agency, license #OF30784. HealthPlanOne, is a licensed and certified representative of Medicare Advantage HMO, PPO and PPFS organizations and stand-alone prescription drug plans with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in any plan depends on contract renewal.
For a complete list of available plans please contact 1-800-MEDICARE (TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048), 24 hours a day/7 days a week or consult www.medicare.gov.
The purpose of this communication is the solicitation of insurance. Contact will be made by an insurance agent/producer or insurance company.
Medicare supplement plans are not connected with or endorsed by the U.S. Government or the federal Medicare program.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not review or approve Medicare Supplement plan information.
Other Pharmacies are available in the plans' networks.
Last Updated 12/21/2018