Unfortunately, many people enrolling in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan (PDP
) or Medicare Advantage plan (MA or MAPD
) make mistakes when submitting a printed enrollment forms - and these errors can delay or stop the enrollment process.
The good news is that a Medicare plan representative will usually contact you if there is an error in your enrollment information that is hindering the enrollment process. But as you approach December 7th and near the end of the annual Open Enrollment Period (AEP), you will need to complete your application carefully so as to not jeopardize your enrollment.
Consider these tips when completing a Medicare plan enrollment:
- Did you enter your name and new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier exactly as shown on your "new" Medicare ID card?
Remember, last year, you received a new Medicare
card - and this ID card included a new 11-charecter Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI)
(such as, "1EG4-TE5-MK72") - and replaced your old Medicare card that had a Social Security Number-based Health Insurance
Claim Number (HICN). Make sure you are gathering information from the most current
Medicare ID card. If you cannot find your Medicare ID card, you can contact a Medicare representative at 1-800-633-4227 for assistance.
- Have you entered your Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B dates correctly?
Make sure that your Medicare information was entered on the application and entered correctly. Again, Medicare beneficiaries will have a new Medicare ID card, so be sure that you are using the most current Medicare ID card when looking for your Medicare information. You must be eligible for Medicare Part A and/or Medicare Part B in order to join a Medicare Part D plan. However, you must have both Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B coverage to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Prior to 2021: Do you suffer from Kidney Failure or End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)?
From 2006 through 2020, the only "health-related" question that you can be asked when joining a Medicare Advantage plan is whether you sufferer from End-Stage Renal Disease ESRD (or kidney failure). Starting in 2021, a Medicare beneficiary with ESRD can join a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Are you joining a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan (SNP)?
A Special Needs Plan (SNP) is a Medicare Advantage plan with care that is specialized for people who have a specific health-related condition or financial need. If you are joining a SNP, you will need to demonstrate that you satisfy specific conditions in order to join the plan. For example, you will need to be eligible for Medicaid to join a Dual-Eligible SNP (D-SNP) that provides benefits for people eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Be sure to carefully complete any questions necessary for enrollment in the SNP.
- Are you the Power of Attorney (POA) who is completing this information for someone else?
If you are someone's legal or authorized representative for healthcare issues and completing the enrollment application for that person, be sure to include any required information about your relationship to the Medicare beneficiary such as your name, address, telephone number, and signature.
- Is your handwriting legible and did you double-check the accuracy of information?
Make sure that the information you included on the enrollment application is legible and accurate. If you need assistance writing clearly, please ask for help from a friend, neighbor, family member, or advocate. When in doubt, you can always telephone a Medicare representative at 1-800-633-4227 and complete an enrollment application over the telephone (be sure to record any confirmation number at the end of the enrollment process as evidence of your successful enrollment).
- Have you made a copy of the completed enrollment application, double-checked the mailing address, and sent the enrollment form using the "tracking" option?
We often hear from people who cannot prove that they submitted their enrollment application since they have not made a copy of the completed form and have mailed the form using standard post that cannot be tracked. Make sure that you keep a copy of the application and mail the original signed form using some type of post (U.S. Post, UPS, Fed. Ex.) that allows you to track the enrollment form, showing that your application was delivered to the address printed on the application. The tracking information will also help prove that your form was mailed and received by your plan during the October 15th to December 7th annual Open Enrollment Period.
- Bonus Tip - Choose the correct enrollment period (AEP, OEP, SEP, IEP)
If you are
enrolling into a Medicare Part D or Medicare Advantage plan during the annual Open Enrollment Period that starts October 15th and continues through December 7th, you will want to select
"AEP" on your enrollment application as the enrollment period.
On your printed enrollment application, you may see a few other
abbreviations or acronyms for different enrollment periods, such as: IEP (Initial Enrollment Period), OEP (Open Enrollment Period), and SEP (Special Enrollment Period). Do not confuse these terms with your "AEP".