Signing up for Medicare is something that people must do during the open enrollment period every year. Medicare open enrollment in 2020 started in mid-October and ends in early December. However, there are provisions for those who miss the enrollment period or wish to make changes to their coverage during this time. You can learn about open enrollment, how it works, and how to handle any problems that you might have had. Signing up for Medicare happens mostly online in the digital age, but you are more than welcome to call the national phone center if you have questions. You can sign up for Medicare through a basic insurance plan that Medicare has partnered with, or you can use a Medicare Advantage plan because it works off monthly fees instead of per-service payments. Some people actually change to Advantage plans during the enrollment period because they need time to consider their options, or they will switch after spending a year with supplemental insurance that they did not like.
How Long Is Open Enrollment?
Medicare open enrollment happens every fall, and it lasts from October 15-December 7, 2020. Medicare open enrollment period is in the same time period every year, and you can expect that it will happen at about the same time in 2019. You might ask, “how long is open enrollment,” you will find that you get a month and a half to make your choice. You are given time to do your research, and you will find that you could easily pick a plan that you are happy with. However, there are times when people cannot decide or miss the enrollment period altogether.
What If I Missed The Deadline For Open Enrollment?
If you missed the deadline for open enrollment, then you can go into the provisional enrollment window that happens after regular open enrollment. There are many people who simply need to call and get help with their enrollment if they have missed the open enrollment period, but they might not have the same choices for medical coverage because the insurance companies fill their rolls quickly. You might need to get a Medicare Advantage Plan instead because they are less popular, or you could request an exemption to get into the plan you would prefer. Missing the deadline will also cause the Medicare system to send you a letter detailing your options for the provisional program. You can call as soon as you realize you have missed the deadline, or you can use the contact information on the letter to make the right choice for yourself. You need to get in touch with Medicare quickly so that you can learn what your next step is. In either case, you will begin by choosing a coverage plan that you are most comfortable with.
What Am I Choosing During Open Enrollment?
You are choosing a Medicare Part A plan during open enrollment, and you are asked to consider Medicare Part C plans that are called advantage plans. The Medicare Part A plan is just like your traditional insurance, and the Advantage plan works off of monthly fees. You could technically have both because Part A works with most medical providers, but your Advantage plans will work with things like long-term care or other home care services that only charge a monthly fee. The purpose of the open enrollment period is to give you a chance to research everything that you could use for medical coverage. However, you might run out of time due to a variety of factors that are not always under your control.
Calling For Customer Care
You can call the national information center to:
- Deal with a missed enrollment deadline
- To ask questions about the companies that offer certain insurance plans
- Ask the service advisor if they can get you into a program that appears to have been full
- To request information on supplemental insurance plans and companies
The customer care center has people working on the phone every day, and they make sure that all the people who call get accurate information. They also make certain that all the people who call can get enrolled over the phone if they need. Many people do not like to make their decisions online because they have questions. You might feel better enrolling over the phone because you can ask a lot of questions to the person on the other end of the phone to make your decision.
The Provisional Period
You can get into Medicare if you have missed the deadline in the same way that you will go on Medicare when you turn 65 in the middle of the year. You must contact the service center for information, or you should go to your local Medicare office. The people in the office can give you information on enrollment, and they will let you know which plans you can enroll in at that time. The provisional period is supposed to last just as long as open enrollment, but people can call at any time to talk to someone about their provisional enrollment.
You might have enrolled in the open enrollment period, or you could have missed the deadline for open enrollment. The moment that you have coverage, you need to start considering supplemental insurance. Supplemental insurance will allow you to fill in the gaps of your Medicare. The supplemental plan will pay for everything that Medicare would not have paid for in the first place, and it ensures that you never receive any bills of responsibility. Supplemental insurance acts on its own, and you are never asked to file claims or figure out how much should be covered. These insurance companies are well aware of how much coverage you will get, and they can make payments quickly so that you are not left wondering what to do.
How Long Does Your Medicare Last?
Your Medicare will last for one year, and you must apply every year during open enrollment for a new year of coverage. The plans change every year and the companies that administer them change, too. You could run across new plans that you are interested in, or you might find plans that have fallen off the Medicare rolls. No company is legally obligated to offer coverage, and they could pull out of Medicare at any time. This is the moment when you choose a new plan, get your coverage started, and possibly find a new Advantage plan.
How Much Will You Pay?
You will pay only a small amount for the supplemental insurance that you have taken, and your tax dollars will pay for Medicare as it is. You need supplemental insurance if you are using a lot of medical services during the year, and you will pay a premium for that insurance based on how much it covers. Some plans will cover a lot for you, and others will cover very little as it compares to the Medicare you have.
Will I Need More Coverage If Medicare Is Not Enough?
Medicare is free, and all the coverage that you get through Medicare does not cost you anything. However, there are doctor’s offices and medical facilities that will charge more than normal, and that is why you need a Medigap plan to cover all the things you are doing every year. The same is true for prescriptions because there is a Medicare plan just for drug coverage. Plan D is a coverage plan for drug benefits, and you might need to have supplemental insurance for drug coverage because you cannot always afford the most expensive drugs that are not covered under the right tier of Plan D.
What If I Cannot Get Through During Open Enrollment?
You have already asked, “how long is open enrollment,” but there are people who simply cannot get through to the system or a call center worker when the open enrollment period happens. These people need to visit the Medicare office in their community, or they need to send an email to the Medicare service center so that they can have their case heard. These people usually enroll during the provisional period, and that does not stop them from getting coverage. They can fit into the Medicare program quickly, but they need to be sure that they have gone through this process so that they can get back into Medicare. If you let this go for too long without any contact, you could be left off the rolls until the next year. You can get your Medicare coverage going right now, but you need to be proactive because you never know when you might have problems or need more assistance with your plan. Do not panic if you miss open enrollment. You must contact Medicare as soon as possible.