Medicare Renewal: Do I Have to Re-Enroll Every Year?
No, you do not have to re-enroll in Original Medicare every year. Once you are enrolled, your coverage will continue until you make changes or decide to cancel it. Aside from a few exceptions, this is the same for Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap), and Medicare Part D (prescription drug plan). Below are a few scenarios you might need to re-enroll in your existing plan or pick a new one.
When Might I Have to Renew My Medicare Coverage?
In most instances, your Medicare coverage automatically renews as long as you pay your monthly premiums. Automatic deductions make it easier to stay current and ensure you remember to make your payment.
Although plans automatically renew for most beneficiaries, there are some situations where you will need to renew your Medicare Part C, Part D, or Medigap policy:
- If your Medicare Advantage company does not renew its contract with Medicare.
- If Medicare terminates its contract with your insurance carrier.
- Your plan changes its service area, and you no longer live in its coverage area.
- You move outside of your plan’s service area, and your plan is not offered in your new location.
- If the insurance provider goes bankrupt or discontinues your plan.
If any of these situations occur, you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period and can re-enroll without paying a penalty or undergoing underwriting. The length of your SEP depends on the circumstances that trigger it.
If you are on a Medicare Advantage plan, the insurance company must send you an annual Notice of Change listing any changes in cost, coverage, provider network, or service area. You should receive the notice by October; if you do not, contact your insurance carrier.
Changes typically go into effect in January of the following year. Because most Medicare plans automatically renew, you must review these changes yearly to ensure that the policy is up-to-date and meets your healthcare needs.
An experienced insurance agent can help you analyze plans, benefits, and insurance providers.
You can also elect to have your Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) and Part D premiums deducted from your Social Security benefit. However, in the case of Medicare Supplement plans, you must pay your premium directly to the insurance company.
Does Medicare Part D Need to Be Renewed Each Year?
Medicare Prescription Drug Plans automatically renew unless Medicare terminates its contract with your insurance carrier, your insurance carrier withdraws from the Medicare program, or you stop paying your monthly premiums.
If you want to change your Part D plan, you can do so during the Open Enrollment Period from October 15 to December 7. You can compare plans at medicare.gov.
Do I Need to Re-Enroll in Medicare Supplement?
Your Medicare Supplement plan, also known as Medigap, automatically renews each year as long as you pay your premiums. Supplement plans are guaranteed renewable.
If your insurance carrier goes bankrupt or no longer offers your plan, you must choose another company. You can keep the same plan or switch to a new plan. Either way, you have guaranteed issue rights, which means the carrier cannot deny your application or require you to undergo underwriting.
Do I Need to Re-Enroll in Medicare Advantage?
Medicare Advantage plans automatically renew unless you stop paying your Part B premiums. You can join, drop, or change to another Medicare Advantage plan during the Open Enrollment Period, which runs October 15 through December 7. You can also change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage during this time.
If you already have a Part C plan and want to switch to another, you can also change during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period from January 1 to March 31.
If your insurance company is not extending its contract with Medicare, you will receive a non-renewal notice. The insurance company might switch you to another Medicare Advantage plan that offers similar benefits.
If you do not want to join the new plan, you can join another Advantage plan during the annual election period. If you choose to do nothing, your coverage will automatically revert to Original Medicare.
As long as you keep paying your premiums, you usually don’t have to renew your Medicare coverage every year. Medicare can be confusing, so if you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact one of our licensed agents.
What happens if I don't enroll in Medicare in time?
If you don’t purchase Part A of Medicare when you first become eligible, you may face a penalty of a 10% increase in your monthly premium. The penalty will be based on the number of years you went without signing up, and you’ll have to pay it for twice that amount of time.
Does Medicare automatically enroll you in Part A?
Part A is provided automatically, whereas to obtain Part B, you must enroll. If you fail to enroll for Part B within three months of Part A’s commencement, you may face a waiting period and a monthly penalty fee for enrollment delay.
How do I avoid the Part B Late Enrollment Penalty?
If you have other health insurance that qualifies, you can delay signing up for Part B and paying the premium. Enrolling in Part B within eight months of your other insurance ending won’t penalize you. However, it would help if you let Medicare know your decision before your Part B coverage begins.