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Medicare: Advantage 101

How To Enroll In A Medicare Advantage Plan

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Once you have decided to join a Medicare Advantage Plan, it is a very simple process. The easiest way is to call the company you wish to join. The company will usually send someone out to your home to sign you up. There will be an enrollment form for you to complete.

Confirm everything you're told

No matter how personable or trustworthy the rep seems always call the Plan directly and confirm that the information you've been given is correct. Makes notes of everything you're told during the call, including the name and direct number of the person with whom you speak.

Effective Date

Your coverage will generally be effective on the first of the month following your enrollment. However, if you enroll late in the month your effective date may be postponed until the first of the following month.

When to start using the Plan

Do not start using the Medicare Advantage Plan until you receive notice, preferably in writing, of the date that your coverage is effective. Any charges you incur before your Medicare Advantage Plan coverage is effective will not be covered under the Medicare Advantage Plan.

If you have Original Medicare

The new plan will disenroll you from Original Medicare.

If you have an Original Medicare card, put it away in a safe place. Add the location to your List of Documents so you don't have to remember where you put it. Do not attempt to use the card while you are a member of a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you ever disenroll from a Medicare Advantage Plan and rejoin Original Medicare, you will be issued a new card with the new effective date, but your old card may be of use until you receive the new one.

Join only one plan at a time.

You may belong to only one Medicare plan at a time: either Original or Medicare Advantage Plan or other plan. Should you accidentally enroll in more than one plan with the same effective dates, Medicare will void both enrollments and you will remain in the plan you were in until you complete a new enrollment form. 

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