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Does Medicare Automatically Renew? Do You Need to Sign Up Every Year?

January 11, 2022

Does Medicare Automatically Renew? Do You Need to Sign Up Every Year?

Once you’ve enrolled in Medicare, do you have to take action to renew it each year? While there is an annual open enrollment period (AEP) every year from October 15th to December 7th, you generally don’t have to do anything unless you want to make changes.

There are a few exceptions, though. This guide will help you understand when you need to renew your Medicare coverage and when you can let it renew on its own.

Medicare Renewal - When You Might Have to Renew

There are some circumstances in which your coverage will not automatically renew. These are generally limited to Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage) and Medicare Advantage plans.

For example, you’ll have to choose a new plan at renewal if:

  • Your existing plan reduces its coverage and doesn’t include your area anymore
  • Your plan leaves Medicare or does not renew its Medicare contract for the next year
  • Medicare terminates the contract with your existing plan
  • Your insurer decides not to continue your current plan

In these cases, you may get a special election period along with the normal enrollment period. That means you’ll have time to choose a new plan.

If you don’t choose a different plan option, you might be automatically enrolled in a different Medicare Advantage plan offered by the insurer, or you may be returned to Original Medicare. If the affected plan is Medicare Part D and you don’t make a new choice, you might lose Medicare Part D coverage.

How Do You Renew Your Medicare?

If you want to stay with the same plan and it’s still offered and contracted with Medicare, you shouldn’t need to do anything to renew. However, if you need to elect a new plan, you’ll want to take action right away.

Medicare Part A and B (Original Medicare) Renewal

Your Medicare Part A and B will continue from one year to the next. However, there may be changes in monthly premiums, cost-sharing, or other parts of the program. As a result, it’s important to review your Original Medicare plan each year during the enrollment period.

If you decide you don’t like the changes, you’ll have time to review different Medicare Advantage plans to see if they offer a better option for your needs.

Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) Renewal

Medicare Advantage is the type of plan that is most likely to change from one year to the next. You might see a plan discontinued, in which case you need to choose different coverage. Or, there could be a significant change in monthly premiums, coverage levels, and cost-sharing.

It’s important to compare Medicare Advantage coverage every year during annual enrollment so that you are sure that you’re getting the best coverage at the right price for your needs.

If you want to stay with the same plan and have reviewed the premiums, benefits, and provider network, you can let the plan renew automatically.

Medicare Part D (Drug Coverage) Renewal

Do you have to renew Medicare Part D every year? Like most insurance coverage, it’s important to review the price and coverage during the enrollment period to make sure nothing has changed that negatively affects you.

If the plan is no longer offered or isn’t contracted with Medicare anymore, you’ll need to choose a different Medicare Part D plan. If you don’t, you could lose prescription drug coverage when the plan period ends.

If the plan is continuing and you aren’t concerned about the changes, you can allow the plan to renew automatically.

Does Medicare Part G (Medigap or Medicare Supplement) Automatically Renew?

Do Medicare supplement plans automatically renew each year? Most supplement plans, known as Medigap, are designed to continue indefinitely as long as you make your payments. Even if that particular plan isn’t offered to new members anymore, existing enrollees with the plan can continue it.

It’s important to ensure you make your Medigap payments on time! If you don’t, the plan will terminate and you might not be able to get it back.

If you’re asking “Do I have to renew my Medicare supplement every year?” rest assured that it will continue as long as payments are made on time.

Does Medicare Expire?

All insurance plans have a start and end date, but Medicare doesn’t expire unless you stop making payments or cancel the coverage yourself.

Medicare does not expire. It continues from year to year unless your plan is canceled or you stop making payments. If your plan is canceled and you don’t make a different selection, you may be returned to Original Medicare coverage.

Do Medicare Benefits Run Out?

In some cases, there are limits to how much Medicare will pay for specific services in each year or over your lifetime. For example, inpatient hospital stays beyond 90 days in a year can be limited and you may be required to pay your own medical costs beyond that point.

However, Original Medicare benefits do not run out — they continue to renew year after year. If you fail to make your Medicare monthly payment, you might face cancellation for non-payment. But the benefits themselves do not run out.

Learn More About Medicare Enrollment and Renewal

Reviewing your insurance coverage during the different Medicare enrollment periods is essential to make sure you’re still getting the coverage you expect at a price you can afford. However, you usually don’t need to take action to renew Medicare unless you want to change plans.

Curious if you have the right plan to meet your needs? Talking to a licensed insurance agent can help. Contact us today to compare plans or learn more about Medicare renewal.

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