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Kaiser Family Foundation

If I sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment period, when will the coverage take effect?

If you enroll in a plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment period that runs from October 15 to December 7 each year, your coverage takes effect on January 1 of the following year.

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Kaiser Family Foundation

Can I be charged a higher premium for Medicare Advantage plans if I have a pre-existing condition or if I smoke?

No, Medicare Advantage plans charge the same premiums to all enrollees; they are not permitted to vary premiums based on age, smoking history, gender, or pre-existing medical conditions.

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Kaiser Family Foundation

I’ve been enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan for several years, but I want to switch to traditional Medicare. Can I make that change during the Medicare Open Enrollment period?

Yes, you can elect to switch to traditional Medicare from your Medicare Advantage plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment period, which runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. Your coverage under traditional Medicare will begin January 1 of the following year. You can also make this change during…

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Kaiser Family Foundation

I am enrolled in a stand-alone Medicare Part D drug plan. Do I need to do anything during the Medicare Open Enrollment period?

If you are happy with your current coverage and your plan will continue to be offered next year, you can keep it and do not need to do anything during the Medicare Open Enrollment period. Your enrollment will automatically continue. However, you might want to see how your current coverage…

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Kaiser Family Foundation

I decided not to sign up for a Part D drug plan when I first qualified for Medicare when I turned 65 last year, but now I want to enroll in a drug plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment period. Can I do that?

Yes, you can sign up for a Part D plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment period. However, you may also owe a late enrollment penalty because you didn’t sign up for Part D drug coverage when you first became eligible for Medicare. The penalty is equal to 1% of the…

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Kaiser Family Foundation

Can choosing a new drug plan really make a difference? How can switching plans make a difference in out-of-pocket costs?

Medicare drug plans can differ in ways that can have a big impact on your out-of-pocket costs, including monthly premiums, the list of drugs covered by each plan, how much the plan charges for preferred and non-preferred drugs, and how much the plan charges for high-cost specialty drugs. Not everyone…

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Kaiser Family Foundation

If I switch drug plans during the Medicare Open Enrollment period, do I need to notify anyone of the change?

Enrolling in a new drug plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment period will disenroll you from your previous plan, so you don’t need to contact the previous plan to drop that coverage. You should notify the pharmacy where you fill your prescriptions so they can update their records with your…

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Kaiser Family Foundation

I am currently enrolled in a stand-alone drug plan, but I received a notice that my plan is not being offered next year. What do I need to do?

You can enroll in a new plan if your current plan will not be offered next year. When a plan is being discontinued, people who are enrolled in that plan will qualify for a Special Enrollment Period which gives you more time to enroll in a new plan outside of…

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Kaiser Family Foundation

I am covered by Medicare, but I don’t take any medications. Do I need to sign up for a drug plan?

Even if you aren’t taking any medications right now, it might make sense to enroll in a drug plan so that you have coverage in case your needs change in the future. If you don’t have coverage and the Medicare Open Enrollment period has ended, you won’t be able to…

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Kaiser Family Foundation

Are covered benefits and cost-sharing requirements under Medicare Part D plans the same? How can I compare?

Although there are some similar features of Medicare Part D plans, they are not all the same. There are several different ways in which plans can differ that could affect your access to medications and how much you pay for them. For example, plans can vary in the lists of…

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco, California.