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Important Medicare Dates to Know

Posted by Doreen Dann, RN, BSN, MHA, October 4, 2017

It’s almost that time of year again! Medicare operates its annual enrollment period each fall, giving you an opportunity to evaluate your Medicare plan(s) and make necessary changes. But because all of these deadlines can be difficult to remember, we’ve composed a handy list for you. Keep in mind that some of these dates might not apply to your situation.

The Annual Election Period runs from October 15 to December 7. During this time, you can add or drop a Medicare plan, or switch to a different plan. If you do nothing, your current plan(s) will automatically renew.

Your new plan(s) will take effect on January 1, 2018. It doesn’t matter whether you enrolled in a plan on October 15, December 7, or sometime in between. All new Medicare plans (or renewal of your old plan) will begin on January 1.

It’s important to remember this date, even if you plan to stay with your current policy. If the coverage is changing, you might need to schedule appointments or procedures by the end of December. On the other hand, depending upon your coverage changes, it might be smart to wait. Talk to your doctor to learn more about how changes could impact the timing of your healthcare choices.

You can drop Medicare Advantage coverage between January 1 and February 14, 2018. If, for some reason, you change your mind about your Medicare Advantage plan, you can drop it during this time and return to Original Medicare. You cannot switch to another Advantage plan, though, so carefully evaluate your options before making a decision during the Annual Election Period.

If you do return to Original Medicare, you have until February 14 to add a Part D plan, if desired. Coverage will begin on the first day of the month, following the month that you enroll.

Late enrollees can sign up for Medicare between January 1 and March 31, 2018. If, for some reason, you neglected to enroll in Medicare when you turned 65, you can do so between January 1 and March 31. A late penalty will apply to Medicare Part B Coverage will become effective on July 1, 2018.

It can be difficult to remember all of these dates, so mark the applicable ones on your calendar. As always, give us a call if you need help, We will assist as you compare your options and decide how to proceed.

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