Do you need to renew Medicare every year?

A short answer to this question is no. If you’re enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A and B) or a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, your plan will renew automatically.

However, there are some exceptions and enrollment information you may not be aware of. Let’s explore some of the renewal and enrollment details of common Medicare plans.

Medicare plan renewals and exceptions

Original Medicare (Parts A and B)

You don’t need to renew if you’re enrolled in Original Medicare but you need to pay your Medicare Part B premium every month ($170.10 in 2022).1 And, if applicable, your Part A premium. The Part A premium is free if you’ve worked a minimum 10 years while paying Medicare taxes. You can choose to have your Medicare premiums automatically deducted from your Social Security retirement benefits if you wish.

Medicare Advantage plans (Part C)

Medicare Advantage plans also renew automatically each year unless Medicare cancels its contract with the plan or your insurance company stops offering the plan. If the plan doesn’t renew, you may qualify for a Special Election Period.

Medicare prescription drug plans (Part D)

Similar to Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D plans will renew unless the plan is terminated either by Medicare or the insurer.

Medigap Plans

Medigap policies should also renew automatically as long as the premium is paid, even if your Insurance company no longer sells the plan.

What is an Annual Notice of Change?

Your Medicare plan provider is required to send you a “Plan Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC) each fall. The ANOC includes any changes in coverage, costs and more that will be effective the following January. It’s important to review any changes to your plan to make sure the plan still meets your needs. If you don’t receive an ANOC by October, or you’d like to cancel your plan, contact your plan carrier.

What should you do if you receive a non-renewal notice?

A Medicare non-renewal notice will be sent if your plan is leaving the Medicare program in the coming year. If you receive one, you must choose a new plan. For help researching different types of Medicare plans, visit our Medicare information page.

Understanding Medicare enrollment periods

You can join, switch or change plans during specific enrollment periods throughout the year. Here are some details about the most common enrollment periods:

Initial Enrollment Period (IEP)

The IEP is your first chance to sign up for Medicare. Once you become eligible, you have these 7 months to enroll:

  • 3 months before the month you turn 65
  • The month you turn 65
  • 3 months after the month you turn 65

For more information, read these tips for signing up for Medicare for the first time.

Annual Enrollment Period (also known as “Open Enrollment”)

The Open Enrollment Period runs from Oct. 15 – Dec. 7 each year. You can join, switch or change Medicare health and drug plans. Your coverage will begin on Jan. 1 (as long as the plan gets your request by Dec. 7).

Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP)

If you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is when you can enroll in another Medicare Advantage plan or go back to Original Medicare. Enrollment is from Jan. 1—March 31. However, you can only make 1 change within the period, and other rules apply as well.

To learn more, go to our Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period page.

Special Enrollment Period (SEP)

If you need to enroll in Medicare Advantage or change your plan outside of the usual Medicare enrollment periods, a Special Election Period (SEP) could be the answer. For information on eligibility, visit our Special Enrollment Period page.

Why you should review your Medicare plan each year

Although most Medicare plans renew automatically, your needs may change from year to year. Each fall, make time to sit down and review all of your Medicare plans. This will give you a chance to make changes if necessary and be confident that all of your needs will be met in the coming year.

Source

  1. “Part B costs,” Medicare.gov, last accessed April 11, 2022, https://www.medicare.gov/your-medicare-costs/part-b-costs.

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