President Biden announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending access to the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) February that runs through Aug. 15. All state-based marketplaces also began their own special enrollment periods, but their dates vary. This action provides new and current enrollees an additional three months to enroll or re-evaluate their coverage needs with increased tax credits available to reduce premiums.

Consumers who want to access the SEP to enroll in coverage and see if they qualify for financial help to reduce the cost of monthly premiums can visit or to view 2021 plans and prices and enroll in a plan that best meets their needs. Additionally, consumers can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, which provides assistance in over 150 languages. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325. Consumers can also find a local assister or agent/broker in their area:

Consumers who are eligible and enroll under the SEP will be able to select a plan with coverage that could start as soon as the first month after plan selection. Current enrollees will be able to change to any plan available to them in their area. To take advantage of the SEP, current enrollees should review their application and make changes, if needed, to their current information and submit their application in order to receive an updated eligibility result.

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What makes a good Medicare plan?

Like other forms of health insurance, it’s all about choosing something that fits your specific requirements. Here are three critical mistakes that you’ll need to avoid when selecting your coverage:

  1. Don’t Forget to Consider What Lies Ahead

Your medical needs might change this coming year. To ensure that your coverage keeps up, always take the time to understand what you’re getting from your healthcare plan.

For instance, you’ll want to gather information including:

  • The names and dosages of the current medications you take
    • Records about any procedures you underwent during the last year
    • Bills associated with specialist consultations, regular checkups, and other forms of care
    • The amount you’ve paid for any medical devices

Collecting this critical data makes it easier to understand what kind of minimum coverage you’ll need. This process can also get you into the habit of being more conscious about your healthcare costs.

  1. Don’t Ignore Your Current Plan’s New Rules

Consumers served by State-based Marketplaces that use their own platform can check their state’s website to find out more information on Special Enrollment Periods in their state.

These update letters let you know about changes regarding:

  • Costs
    • Coverage limits
    • Service areas

These changes usually go into effect in January after the ANOC is issued. Being familiar with these changes can make it easier for you to find new coverage that fills the gaps.

  1. Don’t Enroll Without Testing the Waters

Medicare plan providers commonly use open enrollment periods to market their products and services. Although many of the promotions that they offer look extremely enticing, you should still shop around before committing.

What initially seems like a great deal may end up being far more expensive when you factor in your out-of-pocket costs.

It’s critical to compare plans on a term-by-term basis, and you probably shouldn’t wait until fall to get started.

Put yourself on solid footing and become a more responsible medical consumer by learning about your available Medicare insurance plan offers.

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