While Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”) are open to all who qualify, there are only a few times during the year to sign up. During these enrollment periods, you can either set up an initial plan, make changes to your existing plan, or sign up for a new plan if needed.
While enrollment periods are consistent from year to year, there are differences between Medicare and the ACA. When working with VibrantUSA, we’ll keep you up-to-date on changes to your plan, when to start looking at your options, and other aspects of your coverage to make sure you have the information you need to make the best decisions.
Medicare Enrollment Periods
There are several times throughout the year when Medicare users can sign-up, update, or switch their plans. However, each enrollment period is geared toward specific enrollees. This could be someone who is about to turn 65 or needing to find a new plan.
The following are the enrollment periods that affect the majority of Medicare patients.
ICEP (Initial Coverage Enrollment Period)
Varied – This is the time when first-time Medicare users can sign up. This enrollment period is open for three months before you turn 65, the month of your 65th birthday, until three months after. This gives people new to Medicare seven months to find which plans are available to them and which plans will provide them the best coverage.
Having this much time is helpful because of the variety of plans and coverages available under Medicare. When consulting with VibrantUSA, we’ll find out exactly what you need coverage for, if you can keep your current doctor, and other aspects of Medicare Plans and coverage.
It can be a stressful time. However, VibrantUSA agents have access to more than 50 plan variations through more than 30 regional and national insurance carriers. As an independent insurance agency, we aren’t limited to certain carriers or plans. We’ll find the best plans – at the best prices – for you and your family.
Annual Enrollment Period
Oct. 15-Dec. 7 – This is the time to review your existing plan, learn about any changes in your plan, if doctors or facilities have been dropped or added, and other aspects of Medicare. The nice thing about this enrollment period is you are able to make several changes for the duration of this period.
For example, let’s say you’ve chosen a particular plan from an insurance carrier. However, you then learn of another plan that might be better suited for your situation. You can keep your original selection or make all the changes you want. But, once Dec. 7 rolls around, you will be set with the final choices you’ve made.
If you use VibrantUSA, we can help you change as many aspects of your coverage as you want. We will make sure to give all of the information you need. Maybe you’ll need no changes, whole changes, or changes in-between. Either way, we’re here to help.
Open Enrollment Period
Jan. 1 – March 31 – The Open Enrollment Period allows Medicare Advantage enrollees to make a one-time change to your coverage. Unlike the Annual Enrollment period which allows users to make unlimited choices, you only get one shot during this period.
VibrantUSA is ready to help discuss your options during this time and make sure you make the change you need. In many cases, there is no need to make a change. However, you never know when a sudden life event requires a new Medicare plan. When that happens, VibrantUSA is here for you.
Special Enrollment Period
Variable – Similar to ICEP, Special Enrollment Periods are in place to help to give users a chance to react to major events in their life. Perhaps you’ve retired, moved to a new county or state, or some other lifestyle change. The Special Enrollment Period will allow you to make the changes you need to ensure you get the coverage you need.
When you choose VibrantUSA as your insurance agent, you will be receiving unmatched in-depth care. From helping you navigate the world of insurance carriers to finding the best plan and price, we are always working on getting the best plans – at the best price – for our clients.
VibrantUSA also keeps tabs of any changes that might affect our clients at the state level. There are times when a doctor or a facility leaves the ACA, so we make sure our affected clients are aware of the changes. We feel it’s important to keep our clients informed every step of the way on their healthcare insurance journey.
VibrantUSA is always helpful in answering many of my questions and put me at ease with any and all what ifs and whys I may ask of them.Client Since: 11/16/07
On top of the stress of relocating across the country at age 85, I had additional stress over the changing of insurances after so many years with my former insurance companies. At this age, changes do not come easily! VibrantUSA put me completely at ease and alleviated the stress… They really do care about their clients.Client Since: 12/2/08
We met with a Vibrant agent to discuss several issues and I want to commend her personal service, professionalism and expertise. My wife, Karen, and I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and will be following up with her early next year as we set our health care insurance coverage during early retirement and then with appropriate Medicare coverage when the time comes.Client Since: 6/30/11
VibrantUSA has assembled a professional staff that listens carefully to each patient and then takes the time needed to be sure all questions are answered. This enables them to recommend coverage choices that really meet our patients’ needs. I trust them to do the right thing.M.D.ABFM, Family Care Network
We are very pleased with the business relationship we share with VibrantUSA. We have found Vibrant to be knowledgeable and helpful in navigating through the plethora of information regarding Medicare insurance related issues for our prospective new residents. On numerous occasions Vibrant has worked with our new resident (and their family members if necessary) to obtain proper insurance and physicians to meet their individual needs. We have also used Vibrant to help our own family members that live locally with their Medicare needs. We have been greatly satisfied with this service too.Executive Director, Emeritus at Fairhaven
I suddenly found myself without health insurance and in a panic… In one 20-minute phone call my fears were totally taken away by VibrantUSA. They talked to Medicare and Social Security and now I am completely covered with Medicare and prescription drug coverage. I would stand on top of the Space Needle and tell everyone about VibrantUSA.Client Since 6/10/09
For over a year, I tried to get a refund for a premium that was charged by a previous health provider in error. The provider ignored me. Then I went to VibrantUSA. With their guidance and assistance with phone calls and letters, I had my full refund within two weeks! Thank you VibrantUSA agents for the time and attention you spent on this matter.Client Since: 12/1/10
Initially we had fears about the Medicare processes, however VibrantUSA has taken the time we needed to relieve any fears and moved us to a comfortable place; which seems amazing given the complicated nature of Medicare.Clients Since: 12/20/07
The world of insurance is not easy to step into when you retire. You, at VibrantUSA, helped that first step be just a little easier, and when things don’t go smoothly with the insurance company, you work it out and make it work. Thank you.Clients Since: 1/1/2008
I moved my father from Montana to Spokane this past summer. It was in a crisis type of situation and quite stressful for me and my father. He had no drug coverage when he came and it was a huge hassle trying to figure out what to do! Once I got referred to VibrantUSA, however, it magically got easy! Not only did the representative help me find a perfect low-cost Advantage plan for my father, we were able to sign him up two months before open enrollment due to my father’s diabetes. The other insurance agents I had talked to didn’t even know we could do the early enrollment. This saved my father about $700.00! Three months later, my father was wrongly disenrolled from his Advantage plan, and, as you can imagine, I got dead ended on a lot of calls trying to resolve it. Once again, I called VibrantUSA and the representative that helped me was a cross between a Medicare genius and a pit bull. She knew exactly what to do and assisted us every step of the way until it was all resolved. I can’t say enough how amazing she was. She solved another big hassle worth hundreds of dollars and saved me from hours of calls and stress.Client Since: 10/1/2010