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Medicare Open Enrollment Period: How to Find the Right Coverage

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COSTA MESA, Calif. - eTradeWire -- If you're a senior, you can apply for Medicare (https://smartfinancial.com/eligible-for-medicar...) during a 7-month Initial Enrollment Period which begins 3 months before you turn 65 and ends 3 months after the month you turn 65. Original Medicare is Part A or Part A & B. If you fail to sign up in time for Medicare Part B, you may get a late enrollment fee, which you'll have to pay for the duration of your coverage. If you wait to apply for Medicare until the month you turn 65 or in the 3 months after you turn 65, you may have a gap in health insurance due to a delay.

Open Enrollment (October 15 - December 7) applies to seniors who have Medicare and want to switch to private Medicare (Medicare Advantage) or if they want to buy Medigap to help pay towards copays and prescription drugs with Original Medicare.

The annual Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment period (MA OEP) is January 1 to March 31. Coverage begins in July for beneficiaries with both Medicare Part A and B, who enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during their initial coverage period.

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From October 15 - December 7, anyone with Medicare Parts A & B can switch to Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage); anyone with Medicare Part C can switch back to Medicare A & B; anyone with Medicare Parts A or B can join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan; and anyone with Medicare Part C can switch to a new Part C plan.

Your Medigap Open Enrollment begins the month you turn 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance). If you haven't yet bought Medicare, visit here (https://smartfinancial.com/health-insurance). No matter what health you're in, good or bad, you will pay the same as someone in perfect health, but only if you buy Medigap within your Open Enrollment period. If you try to buy Medigap after the Open Enrollment period, you will pay more, especially if you are in poor health. To find you the best rates, SmartFinancial compares Medigap quotes for if you fill out a form here (https://smartfinancial.com/health-insurance).

In some cases, if you miss your Open Enrollment period for Medigap, you may be turned down by all insurers. In some states, you can buy Medicare SELECT. After your 12 months on that plan, you can switch to a standard Medigap plan.

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