When it comes to signing up for Medicare, the Initial Enrollment Period for Seniors 65 or older is a 7-month period that starts three months before their 65th birthday and lasts until three months after their birthday. After they’ve enrolled, Seniors are covered under Part A (hospital expenses) and Part B (medical expenses) of the Medicare program.
Annual Election Period (AEP) allows enrollment in additional coverage, complementary to Medicare.
Since Medicare does not pick up all the expenses associated with a doctor, specialist, or hospital visit, or cover any prescription drugs, Seniors can also choose to enroll in additional plans that help pay for out of pocket expenses Medicare doesn’t cover. These additional plans are either a Medicare Advantage plan in place of Original Medicare (covering Part A, B, and sometimes D of Medicare) or a Medicare Supplement insurance plan along with Original Medicare.
Seniors can choose to enroll or disenroll from a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Election Period (AEP) that runs from October 15 through December 7.
During AEP, New York Medicare beneficiaries can choose to enroll or switch from a:
- Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare
- Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage plan
- Medicare Advantage plan to Medicare Advantage plan
- Add or drop a Medicare Part D drug plan, or switch from one Plan to another
Medicare Supplement eligibility and enrollment
For those beneficiaries enrolled in Original Medicare, a Medicare Supplement insurance policy can be added to pay some of the deductibles and coinsurance that Original Medicare doesn't cover. Medicare Supplement is guaranteed issue in New York and can and enroll Senior throughout the year. This means “New York State requires any insurer writing Medicare Supplement insurance must accept a Medicare enrollee’s application for coverage at any time throughout the year. Insurers may not deny the applicant a Medicare Supplement policy or make any premium rate distinctions because of health status, claims experience, medical condition or whether the applicant is receiving health care services.”1
You can find a list of insurers and Medicare Supplement plan rates here.
Consider the differences between a Medicare Advantage plan versus a Original Medicare with or without a Medicare Supplement insurance plan.
There are many differences between a Medicare Advantage plan and Original Medicare with or without a Medicare Supplement insurance plan. While many Seniors focus on the price, there are more factors to consider.
For example, a Medicare Advantage plan could be less expensive than a Medicare Supplement insurance policy, but consider these factors when assessing the value of the cost.
A Medicare Supplement insurance policy added to Original Medicare is guaranteed renewable which means the policy cannot be canceled so long as premiums are paid on time. Medicare Advantage plans are not guaranteed to renew each year and may cancel or non-renew plans, requiring enrollees to seek new coverage.
Network of doctors, hospitals, and specialists versus no network.
A Medicare Advantage plan generally requires you to stay in a network of healthcare providers to avoid denial of coverage or higher out-of-network costs. While this may work out if your favorite providers are in network, you’ll likely have to find new doctors, hospitals, and specialist if they are not covered under the network the Medicare Advantage plan requires. With Original Medicare along with a Medicare Supplement insurance policy, you can choose any doctor, hospital, or specialist that accepts Medicare nationwide. This allows you more freedom to choose healthcare services regardless if you’re at home or traveling.
Speak with a licensed insurance agent for tailored service.
This is not a comprehensive list of the differences between a Medicare Advantage plan and Medicare Supplement insurance. You should reach out to a licensed insurance agent that specializes in Medicare to find coverage tailored to your specific needs.
Like any insurance, Medicare is a complex program that can offer a lot of service if enrolled appropriately. It’s important to enroll in coverage that helps pay for you specific medical needs so you can avoid a year enrolled in a plan that doesn’t help you to the best of the plan’s abilities.
- Department of Financial Services, Information for Medicare Beneficiaries, accessed September 2021.
Categories: Medicare Supplement