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SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIODS (SEP) FOR 2021 OPEN ENROLLMENT

Missed the December 7th deadline for the 2021 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP)? You may be entitled to something called a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) to make changes to your healthcare coverage outside of the yearly Open Enrollment period (1). CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) has established some loopholes making it possible to enroll in Medicare plans after December 7th.


The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs from October 15th through December 7th each year, giving Medicare beneficiaries a little less than 2 months to make changes to their current health insurance; whether that be signing up for a Prescription Drug Plan (PDP), a Medicare Advantage (MAPD), or simply updating their current plan to something new.


Special Enrollment Periods (SEP) were created in the case that complicated issues or events arise that may prevent one from being able to enroll in the necessary healthcare coverage within the designated months for Open Enrollment.


In 2020 alone, there have been a few examples of what could have one qualify for an SEP for the 2021 enrollment period:

  • Impacted by the COVID-19 national emergency: FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, so if you or a family member was sick with COVID-19, or if your employment status was effected and caused you to be uncertain about the health insurance received through your employer, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period (2). If you think this circumstance applies to you, contact the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 to see if you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Then, give Diversified a call to help you enroll in a plan!

  • Impacted by a hurricane or other natural disaster: If you were unable to enroll due to a hurricane or other natural disaster that happened in your area during the Open Enrollment Period, you may be eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. To qualify, you must live (or have lived during the event) in a county that is eligible to apply for “individual assistance” or “public assistance” from FEMA (2). Some states that qualify for this SEP are Arkansas, Arizona, Nevada, Connecticut, North Carolina, Florida, New York, and Mississippi. (For a full list of counties that qualify, visit https://www.fema.gov/disasters).

For all other examples of official SEPs, please visit https://www.healthcare.gov/sep-list/.


Depending on the specific Special Enrollment Period type, you typically have 60 days following the event to enroll in a plan. If you miss this window, you may have to wait until the following Open Enrollment Period to apply or make any changes.


If we have learned anything in 2020, it is clear that life happens – and life happens fast. Complicated scenarios arise that make our normal situation much more difficult than usual, which can affect our day-to-day lives. Unexpected events such as the COVID-19 pandemic changing healthcare, the workforce, and the world; to a hurricane season with seven named storms and four major hurricanes from October to November alone (3) can change life as we know it. This is why Special Election Periods have been established in our healthcare system: To make some lives even a little bit less stressful.


Even after the “official” end of AEP, Diversified’s Licensed Medicare Specialists are still available Monday through Saturday each week to help those who may qualify for an SEP enroll in a new or improved Medicare plan. Diversified has an abundance of experienced agents who are licensed in states all around the country to help Seniors and other Medicare Beneficiaries find out what they are entitled to receive with Medicare – inside and outside of the official enrollment periods.


Visit our website or call 844-244-8000 to speak with one of Diversified’s Licensed Agents at no cost today!


References

  1. https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/special-enrollment-period/

  2. https://www.healthcare.gov/sep-list/

  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/louisgritzo/2020/12/08/2020-hurricane-season-recap-we-were-lucky-then-came-october/?sh=f1ce8475fd46

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