Are you turning 65 this year, already 65 or older? Do you have a family member who fits any of those categories? If you answered yes to any of the questions, then you will benefit significantly from the information contained in this special edition blog. It is that time of the year! That period where all the important and relevant changes that occurred in Medicare are explained and implemented for next year… annual open enrollment! When you are eligible to obtain Medicare benefits, it is so important to be well informed of all that you are eligible to receive; not everyone is able to take the time to find this information, that is why there are representatives that are well prepared and have studied everything regarding your benefits. In this blog, you will find a summary of some of the important elements you must know and understand.
What is Medicare, and who is eligible?
Medicare is a federal health insurance program. Individuals who are 65 years of age or older are eligible to receive Medicare benefits. Also eligible are certain younger people with disabilities and individuals with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant) .
As presented in the Village Health Partners website , there are different parts to Medicare, and each of these parts cover different services:
· Part A: This part is the one that contains the most basic coverage available, and it is also required by law.
· Part B: This part covers the benefits that are included in Part A plus additional ones. These additional ones include some doctor visits and diagnostic screenings. This part has monthly premiums and can have a co-pay, and deductibles.
· Part D: This part adds prescription drug coverage. You need to have Part A and Part B in order to get Part D. This part also has a monthly premium, co-pay, and deductibles.
· Part C: This part is the Medicare Advantage Plan, and this one already includes what is offered in Parts A, B, and D plus some other additions like gym memberships, dental and vision care, hearing aids, and more.
What is Annual Enrollment Period?
The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is a period where individuals who qualify for Medicare benefits can learn about the new changes and make changes to their policies. If you are new to Medicare, this period is where you learn about the benefits and sign -up to receive them. This period starts on Oct 15th and ends on Dec 7th.
Who do I have to contact?
Contact a qualified agent that can assist you with any questions and all the information so that you can decide what plan is better suited for you. Finding a qualified agent is easy at GetMcare  as they provide a complete and professional service. The website is also easy to navigate, as it provides easy access to an agent’s contact information. Or if you prefer, you may fill out a brief form with your contact information so that an agent can contact you.
Important dates to keep in mind for Annual Enrollment Period.
One important date to mark on your calendar is October the 1st, this date is important because it is when you can contact a licensed agent and begin asking about the new changes, options, and plans that were implemented for this year. An advantage of using this period that goes from the 1st of October through the 15th is that you have plenty of time to ask all the questions you might have, as well as gather all the information you need to make a well-thought decision, without having to make the choice at the moment, it gives you time to think and clarify any doubts you might have.
Another important date period to mark on your calendar is October the 15th – December 7th, this period is where individuals with Medicare can make changes to their plans. This is a very important period, as it only goes from Oct 15th -Dec. 7th and it is the only period where changes can occur. Therefore, if you took advantage of the information period, then when entering AEP (Oct 15th -Dec. 7th) you should be ready to make the changes that fit your needs. If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan which according to the Village Health Partners , it provides you with an additional open enrollment period that runs from January 1st-March 31st.
What happens once the process is completed?
Once the process is completed and you are enrolled and have made the changes you believe fit your needs, then you are set to begin with a new plan. All changes you made to your benefits and your plan will become effective on January 1st of the following year. If you miss the period where you can make changes, then you will keep the plan you had until the next year. Also keep in mind that if you are already enrolled and do not want to make any changes to your plan, then you do not need to take any action.
Remember that an early research and information session with a qualified agent is beneficial and can give you time to explore the plan that is better suited for your needs. It also gives you time to find out if the plan you would like is a plan that your physician accepts. So, find an agent at GetMcare  and start the process early so that you can end up with a plan that fits your health needs as well as your lifestyle.