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Can I Change My Insurance Anytime?

Question: I didn’t change my insurance for 2022, but I believe I should have? Can I change anytime I want?

Answer: At Senior Life Matters we spend our time helping individuals understand the insurance they have and adjusting to new situations when they happen. There are many rules that apply to Original Medicare and the insurance products that go along with that.

One of the most important rules to understand is the time period when you are allowed to change your insurance coverage. That usually occurs during the Annual Open Enrollment Period which is October 15 to December 7 each year. There is also a Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period which is open from right now, January 1 to March 31 each year.

There are also 20 different Special Enrollment Periods available each year to help us adjust individual insurance products to new situations and concerns.

This year we have a new Special Enrollment Period, the “New York COVID-19 Declared State of Emergency Executive Order 11”. The Statewide spike in COVID numbers at the end of 2021 created a New York Statewide State of Emergency. This State of Emergency created a situation where some individuals were unable to make the necessary adjustment to their insurance coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period allowed. The State of Emergency declaration creates an additional Special Enrollment Period (SEP) that runs from 11-26-21 to 3-31-2022. During this period of time any Medicare enrolled individual can use this SEP to make whatever change they wish to their Health Insurance Coverage. This SEP applies to those individuals who are enrolled in Original Medicare with or without a Part D plan, or enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan with or without Part D.

This is an exciting opportunity for those of us that work with individuals who have Medicare. There are situations where individuals may have not made the change that they now feel like they should have. This SEP allows those individuals to change their insurance to make their coverage better or more cost effective for 2022.

Maybe you didn’t realize your premium increased to a much higher amount. Maybe you didn’t realize or understand that your medication was going to cost so much more in 2022. Maybe you just didn’t get around to making the change you should have.

Now you can! This New York Statewide State of Emergency SEP gives you the opportunity to change your insurance right now!

When using this SEP you do not have to prove that COVID created this lack of opportunity to change. This SEP does not require that you had COVID. This SEP does not require that you prove COVID interfered directly with your opportunity to change. The State of Emergency enacted due to COVID, allows you to use this SEP if you live in New York State and you have Medicare.

There are as I mentioned 20 SEP’s that are available all the time for those individuals who qualify for special situations. The State of Emergency COVID-19 SEP is available for anyone who lives in New York State during the months of January, February and March, to change their coverage to a new or different plan for the remainder of 2022.

I hope you realize you have ample opportunity in the coming months to change your insurance if you wish to make your coverage more appropriate for your situation.

Reach out to an agency like Senior Life Matters, Office For the Aging, Southwestern Independent Living Center or an insurance broker. Anyone can help you make the change you desire in your insurance using this SEP during January, February or March of 2022.

There are rarely new SEP’s added for individuals to use to change their coverage. So this situation is unique and therefore we at Senior Life Matters want to shout from the rooftops about it!

Senior Life Matters is a community based program sponsored by Lutheran Jamestown. For questions and concerns or to reach Janell Sluga, GCMC, call 716-720-9797 or email SLM@lutheran-jamestown.org.

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