Medicare Open Enrollment 2021: Important Dates and Facts

You turned 65 or are turning 65! Congratulations! We want to make sure that you have all the information you need to get started with Medicare. But first things first. Medicare is not like regular health plans. You don’t need to wait until Open Enrollment to buy Medicare. You can and should apply before you turn 65. There is a 7-month initial Enrollment Period for signing up for a Part A and/or Part B plan, so you should sign up 3 months before you turn 65.

If you haven’t enrolled yet, do it today by calling one of our agents at 855-214-2291. There are penalties that apply for enrolling too late! Keep this page handy or print it out because it has all the vital information you’ll need all year long. Continue reading, for everything else you need to know about Medicare Open Enrollment 2021.

October 15, 2020 to December 7, 2020

Want to make changes to your Medicare plan? This is the time to do it. This is an important period of time for you, for coverage that will take effect January 2021. Make sure you stay on top of your pickings come this time of year.

This is when you can:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage.
  • Switch back to Original Medicare from Medicare Advantage. You can also add Part D (prescription drug plan) and Medigap plans if you do so.
  • Switch Medicare Advantage plans.
  • Switch Medicare Part D plans.
  • Buy a Part D plan. If you don’t sign up for a drug plan when you first become eligible you may have to pay a late enrollment penalty.

Why Medicare Advantage? Medicare Advantage is Medicare with some additional benefits. And just because it’s considered a private insurer doesn’t mean it’ll be more expensive.

Medicare Advantage plans are offered in different ways:

  • Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs)
  • Private Fee-for-Service (PFFS)
  • Medical Savings Account (MSA)
  • Special Needs Plans (SNP)

You may be confusing Medicare Advantage with Medicare Supplements, which are totally different. You also can’t have both (just choose one). Here’s more on how Medicare Advantage is Different from Medigap.

If you do opt for Medicare Advantage, these health plans are offered in different ways:

HMO: You will be required to use healthcare providers in your plan network. You will use referrals from a primary care physician to get coverage for services from a specialist.

PPO: If you use an in-network healthcare provider, you’re likely to be covered for more of your medical costs. You don’t need a referral to see a specialist.

PFFS: This type of Medicare Advantage plan determines how much it will pay doctors and other healthcare providers/hospitals and how much you are responsible to pay.

MSA: This type of plan deposits money into a checking account solely used for paying health-care costs before you meet your deductible amount, after which you’re covered 100%.

SNP: This type of plan is tailored for beneficiaries with specific health conditions. Keep in mind that with Medicare Advantage, you’ll have to pay a monthly premium, annual deductible, coinsurance and copayments, which are separate from your Medicare Part B premium.The main restriction with Medicare Advantage is that you cannot have end-stage renal disease.

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December 8 to November 30, 2020

This is the enrollment period if you want to enroll in a five-star Medicare Advantage plan. Five-star plans include the following:

  • Kelsey-Seybold Administrators in Texas
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in California
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Colorado
  • Humana’s CarePlus Health Plans in Florida
  • Guidewell’s Florida Blue Medicare
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Georgia
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in Hawaii
  • Martin’s Point Generations Advantage in Maine and New Hampshire
  • UnitedHealth Group’s Care Improvement Plus South Central Insurance Co. in New York
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States
  • Tufts Associated Health Maintenance Organization in Massachusetts
  • HealthPartners’ Group Health Plan in Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota
  • CVS Health’s Aetna Health in Maine
  • UnitedHealthcare Benefits of Texas
  • Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington
  • Madison-based University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics’ Quartz Health Plan Corp.
  • Cigna HealthSpring of Florida
  • Anthem Healthsun Health Plans in Florida
  • Quartz Health Plan Minnesota Corp

January 1- March 31, 2020 (Coverage takes effect July 1)

This is when you can enroll in Plan B and/or make plan changes to your coverage. You can

Enroll in Medicare Part B. You may have to pay a late enrollment penalty if you don’t sign up when you are first eligible. Also the penalty may stay with you for the life of your plan.

You can enroll in part A, if you have to pay premiums for part A. Again, you can also sign up during this time if you didn’t enroll when you first became eligible. A penalty may apply for the remainder of your Medicare plan.

April 1 - June 30, 2020

If you enrolled in Medicare Part A and B during the General Enrollment Period (January 1 - March 31), you have this period of time to enroll with Part D for prescription drugs. You can also enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan. Eligibility for Medigap (Medicare Supplements) depends on the state you live in. Or you can call: 855.214.2291 for help. Start shopping for Medicare Advantage or Medigap plans by entering your zip code below. We can compare plans for you.

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