What can you do during the annual open enrollment period?

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Enrolled in Medicare? Part of an Advantage plan? Own Medicare supplement insurance? You still have options through Dec. 7th, 2021.

Why are we hearing so much about Medicare and Medicare supplement insurance on the TV, radio and in newspapers? The Annual Fall Open Enrollment Period for Medicare is here and remains open until Dec. 7th, 2021. Even among people who own a Medicare Supplement plan, it can be confusing to know what you can do during this time, so let’s review. 

Medicare Supplement and Medigap

“Medicare supplement” and “Medigap” refer the same thing — a special health insurance policy that picks up the cost on anything above and beyond what’s covered by your Medicare Part A and B coverage. Medicare supplement and Medigap do not cover things not covered by Medicare, but they do pay the amount that is unpaid on covered procedures. It’s often referred to as back-up insurance to Medicare. What that means is if you have a procedure at a hospital, Medicare Part A will cover 80 percent of your allowed hospital expenses. For the remaining balance and copays, you pay out of pocket or you purchase a Medicare supplement health insurance policy. You pay a monthly premium on your Medigap policy and in return the medical expenses that are partially covered by Medicare now become fully covered. It fills the gap and pays that extra 20 percent that Medicare leaves up to the consumer.

Check out your options

If you’re enrolled in a Medicare supplement or Advantage plan, what is available to you during the Annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP) in 2021? During the AEP, you can:

• Switch from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Supplement, or vice versa;
• Make a change to a different Medicare supplement plan or Medicare Part D (drug) plan; or
• Add Medicare Part D (although a penalty may apply if you delay enrollment in Part D from the time of your initial enrollment).

This period is important for people who are considering making a change to their current Medicare or Medicare Advantage. The enrollment periods can be confusing. There is no harm in looking into your options during the AEP, including finding out if you can qualify for a better plan or lower rates.

Medicare supplement health insurance is an essential tool in maintaining your financial security and independence after retirement. Take advantage of the annual enrollment period.  Start your search early, even a year before you plan to retire. Start familiarizing yourself with your options. Contact your local representative if you have more questions, or get a free online quote for Catholic United Medicare supplement insurance right now.

Tara Donohue Weiss is a Medicare Supplement Specialist at Catholic United Financial. Visit www.catholicunitedfinancial.org/medicare-supplement or email medsupp@catholicunited.org to contact Tara directly.