What is The Annual Election Period (“AEP”)?  

AEP is Medicare’s “Annual Election Period”.  The Annual Election Period for 2013 begins October 15, 2012, and ends December 7, 2012.  The Annual Election Period applies to Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D.  Changes made during this period become effective January 1, 2013. 

If you are a Medicare beneficiary, mark these dates on your calendar! 

  • These dates are extremely important because it is the only time during the year you can enroll in (or purchase), change, or drop a Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Coverage plan. 

There are very few exceptions, or situations, which allow a Medicare beneficiary to change coverage outside of the Annual Election Period or AEP, and specific criteria must be met and proved.  One example of an exception to changing your Medicare coverage outside of the AEP would be if the Medicare beneficiary moves from one service area to another at another time during the year.  (Additional exceptions can be found by exploring this website, or by visiting the Social Security Administration’s website.)   Therefore, it is important that any changes a Medicare beneficiary wants to make to their coverage which involves a Medicare Advantage plan or a Prescription Drug Plan be made during the Annual Election Period or AEP.

Notices are provided to Medicare beneficiaries prior to the Annual Election Period informing them of the dates.  When a Medicare beneficiary becomes aware of the dates of the Annual Election Period there are a few things to consider so they are prepared to make changes if they choose to do so. 

Some things a Medicare beneficiary should consider include the following:

If you already have a Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan, review the changes that your current provider might be making to your plan that will go into effect on January 1, 2013.   Some things to pay close attention to when reviewing your current plan and possible changes for 2013 include, but are not limited to, the following 

  • Is there going to be a premium increase (or decrease) for plan year 2013?
  • Are there changes in deductibles?
  • Are there changes in copays or coinsurance?
  • Are there changes in coverage regarding medical treatment or hospitalization? 

This information can be found in your plan’s Summary of Benefits and Outline of Coverage.  Review it carefully to determine if there are any changes that may affect you financially in 2013, or affect your ability to obtain or afford medical treatment. 

  • Explore the market to determine if there is a Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan that might better suit your healthcare needs and be more affordable.  
  • It is not recommended that you not just assume your plan is not changing and make a decision to stay with your current provider without considering all of the above-referenced situations or possible changes. 

The decisions you make now regarding enrollment, disenrollment or changes to your Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan will remain in effect all year in 2013.  Therefore, become educated before making a decision regarding your healthcare coverage for 2013.  One of our licensed agents would be glad to help you explore your options.


Medicare Pathways, Inc.