New Special Enrollment Period for Medicare in 2012

There is good news for Medicare beneficiaries in 2012.  A new Special Enrollment Period was created by Medicare starting in 2012 that will allow Medicare beneficiaries to join a 5 star rated Medicare Advantage Plan or Prescription Drug Plan at any time during the year.  Currently, most beneficiaries are only allowed to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan or Prescription Drug Plan during the AEP or Annual Election Period which runs from October 15 until December 7.  See my post on Medicare Advantage Enrollment Dates For 2012.

The 5 Star Medicare Rating

The star rating system that Medicare uses is a comprehensive look at each of the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans.  This star rating system takes a look at 53 different different topics in 9 different categories in order to establish a score for that particular plan.  The sources used to gather the information for the criteria being used includes surveys being done by Medicare beneficiaries, information from clinics/providers, and general oversight done by Medicare.  After all is said and done, Medicare assigns a star rating for the plan.  For more information on the rating system visit

5 Star Rating Means Special Enrollment Period

Up until now the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans have had little incentive to care about the rating assigned by Medicare.  Unless the Medicare beneficiary did their own online research they may not know anything about the star rating of a particular plan.  With this new enrollment period, plans are now likely to strive for the 5 star rating.  With the 5 star rating plans will now be able to enroll beneficiaries almost all year long instead of just during the Annual Enrollment Period.  This could translate into huge profits for the plans that get the rating!

Medicare Beneficiaries Will Benefit From The New Special Enrollment Period

Medicare beneficiaries will see two immediate benefits from this program.

  1. Plans will now strive to improve their plan in order to achieve the 5 star rating.  This should translate to overall higher satisfaction
  2. You will now be able to join a 5 star plan throughout the year.  If you find yourself in a plan that is not satisfying your needs, you can simply switch to the 5 star rated plan at any time instead of having to wait until the AEP

Medicare Part D


5 Tips For Shopping Your Medicare Coverage

As your well aware by now, the Medicare AEP, Annual Election Period, is in full force.  The AEP runs from October 15 – December 7 and allows you to make changes to your current Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug coverage.  Any changes that you make during this time will go into effect January 1st.  Making these […]

Loving, Handsome Senior Couple

Shop Your Medicare Plan During The 2015 Open Enrollment

Nobody likes change and that holds especially true when it comes to insurance.  The worst thing you can do, however is nothing!  That’s because Medicare coverage is changing every year, and that holds true in 2015 as well.  So even if you do nothing, your coverage is changing without you whether you like it or […]

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Formulary List Do’s and Don’ts

When it comes to Medicare, the one thing you can NOT overlook is the Formulary list that is provided by the insurance company.  Many times we find ourselves caught up in copays and provider networks that we forget to do one of the most important things.  Check the plan’s formulary list to make sure your […]