Do you feel a little anxious every year when Oct. 15 rolls around? If you’re one of the millions of Americans on Medicare, the answer may be a resounding “Yes!”


Because Oct. 15 marks the beginning of Medicare’s Annual Election Period (AEP), which continues until Dec. 7.

What is AEP?

Let’s try to keep it simple. It’s the time of year when Medicare beneficiaries, those 65 and older, can review their current Medicare plan and make any changes if they desire to do.

Everyone on Medicare already has Part A and Part B. These parts of your healthcare coverage are a constant; they never go away and are not up for review. It’s the Medicare Part C and D that are in question.

AEP addresses the changes in Medicare Advantage (aka Part C), and Part D prescription drug plans for the upcoming year. This is where the anxiety comes in. Do you just keep your current coverage or venture into another plan for next year which offers you lower co-pays and more benefits?

More benefits? What benefits? Some of them to look for include: Meal benefits, transportation, gym membership, dental, vision, hearing, Part B Premium Givebacks, over-the-counter allowances.

Which ones are most important to you?

And what if you have a Plan F, G, or N Medicare Supplement? Can these plans also be reviewed during AEP? Absolutely! The goal is to keep the same coverage you currently enjoy with the possibility of lowering your premium.

If you’re just becoming eligible for Medicare in the beginning of 2022, you’re probably wondering where your situation fits into AEP. The Annual Election Period is a great time to look at the new Medicare plans and benefits that will be available when your coverage starts. 

You have three months before and three months after you turn 65 to explore your options and enroll in a Medicare plan. Ideally, your plan should start the month your Medicare becomes effective to ensure you have as much coverage as possible from Day One.

So take a deep breath. Help is out there. A competent, experienced agent can help review or even customize a plan based upon your doctors of choice, the medications you take, and what benefits are most important to you.

Terri Nelson-Bunge is a local independent representative with Amerilife who helps clients review and navigate their Medicare benefits.