Clarifying the Terms for the Annual Open Enrollment Period

Clarifying the Terms for the Annual Open Enrollment Period

The annual Medicare enrollment period is referred to by a lot of names—Annual Enrollment Period, Annual Coordinated Election Period, Annual Election Period, the list goes on. For many Medicare members, the slight difference isn’t much to talk about as it’s generally understood to mean the same thing. But if you have just acquired your insurance plan in Michigan, these variations can cause a little more than an inconvenience.

Thus, as we enter the annual Medicate Open Enrollment period or AEP this coming October 15 to December 7, it’s a good idea to take the time to go back to the basics, at least insofar as the clarifying the different terms used are concerned.

The different terms used for the annual enrollment traces back to 2005 when ‘annual Open Enrollment Period’ and ‘Medicate Open Enrollment’ were used instead of the commonplace ‘Annual Election Period’ and ‘Annual Coordinated Election Period’ to describe the Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Plan enrollment period.

Today, several official Medicare materials, beneficiary publications and tools, and affiliated life insurance member materials use different names to refer to the period when members are able to add, drop, or change their Medicare Advantage Plan and Medicare Part D.

For instance, the Medicare & You Handbook uses ‘Open Enrollment Period’ for Medicare health and prescription drug plans. The Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Benefit Manual, on the other hand, refers to this period ‘Annual Election Period’ or the AEP.

In affiliated Medicare beneficiary publications and other tools, it is referred to as the ‘Fall Open Enrollment’ season and the longer ‘Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage.’ They recommended these terms to be used by officially affiliated groups in their respective materials.

As mentioned, these variations aren’t just confusing, they can also cause potential issues with your application records. And in my 20 years’ experience as an insurance advisor in Troy, Michigan, at American Insurance Advisors helping individuals, families, and business owners find affordable health insurance coverage solutions, I know corrections can be a hassle, time-consuming, and costly.

For instance, when filling out the printed/paper version of the enrollment application, you’re presented with options that include OEP (as in Open Enrollment Period) and AEP (as in annual Open Enrollment Period). Most would assume they mean the same thing since they’re used interchangeably, but on the application, they refer to two different things.

As it is, you should put a checkmark beside AEP if you are switching up and/or signing up for Medicare Part D and/or Medicare Advantage plans as OEP apparently relates to making changes in your Medicare Supplement plan.

This issue is only one of the many potential ones you can encounter when switching or enrolling in a new Medicare plan. Avoid all these when you enlist my services! Since 1999, I’ve been providing the community with unprecedented insurance solutions. Let’s talk!

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