Page 21 - Senior Times South Central Michigan February 2021 - 28-02
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Senior Times - February 2021
Page 21
By: Lindsay Engle, Medicare Expert
  If your Medicare Advantage plan isn’t working out as expected, seniors have a chance to make changes during the Open Enrollment period. Read on to find what can be changed from January 1 through March 31, why someone might want to make chang- es, and how switching plans works.
who aren’t enrolled in an Advantage plan can’t make changes during this time.
plans that might cause someone to want to disenroll during the January – March Open Enrollment Period.
Many seniors have chosen to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans instead of in Original Medicare. But after enrollment, some may find that their
Unless the person qualifies for a Special Enrollment Period, their next chance to make chang- es is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, which begins on October 7 and runs through December 15 each year.
• Limited physician networks.
• High out-of-pocket costs.
• Benefits that are subject to change.
• Surprise expenses that make the low monthly
new Medicare Advantage coverage isn’t what they expected and would prefer to switch to another plan immediately.
premium less attractive.
• Plans that drop doctors from their networks.
Luckily, an additional Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 through March 31, 2021 offers an opportunity to make plan changes.
3-Medical underwriting may be required for Medigap. Medical underwriting could be required when someone switches to Medigap after disenroll- ment from a Medicare Advantage plan. Medigap
Seniors might find it more affordable to add a Medigap plan, which covers costs that Medicare doesn’t and also doesn’t involve networks.
The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is one of a few enrollment periods available for Advantage plans (also known as Medicare Part C). It runs annually from January 1 through March 31. During this time period, seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans can do one of the following:
1. Switch to another Medicare Advantage plan.
2. Disenroll from their Medicare Advantage plan.
3. Switch from one Medicare Advantage Prescription
is Medicare Supplement Insurance that helps fill “gaps” in Original Medicare and is sold by private companies.
How disenrollment and switching plans works during the Open Enrollment Period – Switching to another Medicare Advantage plan during this time- frame causes disenrollment from the previous plan. If dropping the plan entirely, call the insurance com- pany and let them know the last date of coverage.
Drug Plan to another Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan.
Without the guaranteed-issue rights, an insurance company may require medical underwriting before it sells the plan. During medical underwriting, the insurer looks at past medical history and current health status. If the company determines the risk of coverage is too high, it can refuse to sell the chosen plan or it may charge much higher premiums for the coverage.
There’s some confusion about Medicare enrollment periods because there are several. The other enroll- ment periods that apply to Medicare Part C are:
If you choose to disenroll, you will go back to Original Medicare (Parts A and B) and can choose a prescription drug plan (Part D) if you wish.
The purpose of this Open Enrollment Period is to give beneficiaries a chance to change their coverage and not get stuck with a plan they’ve realized doesn’t meet their needs.
What to know about this Open Enrollment Period
1-Current enrollment is required. This Open Enrollment Period is only for people who are cur- rently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. People
Initial Coverage Election Period – This is when someone is first eligible to enroll in an Advantage plan. It starts three months before their 65th birthday and ends the month before their Part B is effective or three months after their 65th birthday, whichever comes later.
2-Only ONE change is permitted. During this timeframe, only one change can be made. That’s why it’s so important to make an informed decision by estimating upcoming healthcare needs and evalu- ating coverage options.
Disadvantages to Medicare Advantage plans include:
But when switching from Medicare Advantage
to Original Medicare, the “guaranteed-issue” rights for Medigap are lost. Guaranteed-issue rights ensure that a person can buy any plan sold in their state and won’t be charged higher premiums based on health status. People generally have guaranteed-issue rights for six months when they’re both 65 or older and enrolled in Medicare Part B.
When enrolling in a new Medicare Advantage plan, the coverage will start on the first of the fol- lowing month. So, if someone applies for coverage in February, their plan will be effective March 1. And if they apply in March, coverage will start on April 1.
Additional Medicare enrollment periods
 Why someone might disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan? Medicare Advantage plans can
be attractive to enrollees because they come with additional benefits that aren’t offered by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). The plans also must include everything that Original Medicare covers.
Annual Enrollment Period – When changes to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans are allowed each year for the following year. This occurs annually between October 7 and December 15.
 But there are drawbacks to Medicare Advantage
Special Enrollment Period – Specific circum- stances that allow individuals to make changes to their Medicare coverage.
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Alpha Medical Transport
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Battle Creek Area
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Within 150 miles
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(517) 494-0029
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M-F, 7am-5pm
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M-F, 5:15am-mid- night, Sat, 9:15am-5pm
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M-F, 8am-4:30pm
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$2 one-way for senior/disabled, Personal attendants ride free, $7 adults ($5 after 6:45pm)
$0.60 seniors
$1 suggested cost share per ride, funded by Senior Millage
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 Albion Marshall Connector
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Southern Michigan
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Branch County
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 Community Action Senior Transportation
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Origination To Destination
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M,T,W,F, 9am-2:30pm
$1 suggested cost share per ride, funded by Senior Millage
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 Marshall Dial-A-Ride
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Contact for Rates
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 Senior Transportation, DC Services LLC
 Michigan, Northern IN
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 Details subject to change.To have your senior transportation added or changes to your listing, Call Sherii at (269) 979-1479 ext. 302 or
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