By Alex Cordero
Medicare enrollment for 2019 is upon us and soon it will be behind us. It is important that you get all your ducks in a row by Dec. 7, if you are planning on receiving, and/or updating any Medicare benefits or prescription coverage for 2019. There are a couple of more important dates you need to know when it comes to submitting your decisions for Medicare. Don’t let the enrollment process scare you. It is designed to make enrollment as easy as possible to help you decide the best health plan for you.
One of the most important dates to take into consideration is the Medicare open enrollment dates, which run through Dec. 7. These are crucial dates because you are able to choose and submit the Medicare plans you have chosen if this is your first time signing up. It is also very important because if you miss your deadline for enrollment you may be penalized for signing up for Medicare at a later date. Late penalty fees may go as high as 20 percent, and you may end up paying late penalty fees for as long as you have Medicare coverage. You do not need to enroll every year if you are already signed up to a Medicare plan. However, this is also the time to review your current health and prescription plans, and submit any changes to better fit your needs for 2019. Remember, Dec. 7 is the last day to sign up and to change any Medicare plan or prescription plan you want to receive for 2019.
Jan. 1, 2019 will be when your Medicare plan coverage begins. The choices or updates you made during open enrollment will become effective by this date. If you kept your previous plans everything will remain the same for 2019 including costs. If you made new decisions that may affect your existing coverage, prescription plan and/or costs, then all the new changes also become effective on Jan. 1, 2019.
If you are considering choosing the Medicare Advantage plan, Jan. 1 through March 31 are important weeks to remember because during this time period you can make one change. You can update your plan to a different Medicare plan, if you had a change of heart and miss the Medicare plan you had before and wish to switch back you can do that as well. Any changes that you decide to make will become effective on the first of the month after your new plan receives your request.
The enrollment process is the easy part and now that you have remembered all the important enrollment dates, it should be a cinch. Save time and money by signing up for Medicare by Dec. 7. Once you have all your decisions set in place, your Medicare benefits are just a click away. The challenging part of Medicare is knowing how to pick the best benefit plan for your health needs. For more information please visit medicare.gov/Publications/