Guest Blogger: Kyeshna (Kay) Jansen

Navigating health insurance can be a mysterious and overwhelming process especially if you are experiencing a change or transition from an employer plan to an individual health plan or if you are getting ready to turn 65 and will soon be eligible for Medicare. Understanding how it works, what options you have, and what it means can be a little confusing. You may think getting information is as easy as talking to a friend of a friend, seeing a commercial on TV, or even googling it online, but getting the right information from a credible and knowledgeable source can make all the difference.

Kyeshna (Kay) Jansen is a local, small business owner and licensed insurance agent representing HealthMarkets Insurance Agency. She provides guidance, education, and assistance to seniors, individuals, and families looking at Medicare, health insurance, and supplemental benefit options. Serving primarily the Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan areas, she is also able to help people throughout all of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Missouri.

HealthMarkets Insurance Agency is one of the largest distribution groups for benefits in the United States, working with many of the available options and representing more than 200 insurance carriers across the nation. This allows Kyeshna to shop for and tailor plans to meet specific client needs instead of fitting the client to a particular company or product.

There are many options and plans available when you are under 65 and even more decisions to consider if you will soon turn 65. Sometimes people want to continue to work after they turn 65 but they are not sure if they can work or what happens if they enroll or don’t enroll in Medicare. Even seasoned Medicare beneficiaries get confused about Medicare. There are various “parts” and “plans” to consider, therefore, having a valued and trusted expert available to help educate and assist you is important.

One of the first things people ask is when can they enroll or make changes to their plans. Below is a general list of the different enrollment periods. For more detailed information, please call Kyeshna or you visit Medicare.gov. Kyeshna meets with clients and prospective clients to review their personal situation and provides free, no-obligation consultations including Medicare 101 educational meetings, plan comparisons, and help with the enrollment process.

When can you enroll or make changes to your Medicare plan?

  • Initial Enrollment Period (IEP) – When you are turning 65 you have 7 months to enroll in Medicare (3 months before turning 65, the month of your birthday, and 3 months after turning 65). During this time you can:
    • Enroll in Medicare (Part A and Part B)
    • Enroll in a stand-alone prescription drug plan (Part D)
    • Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C)
  • General Enrollment Period (GEP) – (January 1 – March 31) – If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you can sign up for Medicare during the General Enrollment Period and your coverage will start on July 1.
  • Special Enrollment Period (SEP) – Based on certain special circumstances or situations you can join, switch, or drop your Medicare Advantage or prescription drug plan outside of the basic enrollment period. To qualify for an SEP, certain events must occur that require you to change your coverage. Some but not all reasons for an SEP include:
    • Change where you live
    • Lose your current coverage
    • Eligible for help or assistance
  • Five-Star Enrollment Period (December 8 – November 30) – Center for Medicare and Medicaid uses a rating system to evaluate Medicare plans (1-5, worst to best). If you live in an area with a five-star plan, you can enroll or switch to one of the five-star plans.
  • Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) – (October 15 – December 7) – This is a set time each year when anyone can make changes to their Medicare coverage. Your new coverage begins January 1 of the upcoming year.
    • You can move from/to Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plans, join or drop Medicare prescriptions drug plans, or change coverage by switching insurance carriers.
    • With all the available options and possible changes, I highly recommend we do a review at this time every year to make sure changes can be made if necessary.
  • Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MA OEP) – (January 1 – March 31) – This is a set time each year when individuals already enrolled in Medicare Advantage can make a one-time change to another Medicare Advantage plan or go to Original Medicare (plus a prescription drug plan).

Even though Medicare may seem a little confusing, remember you are not alone. Kyeshna is here to help you navigate the choices, at no cost to you.

For more information you can contact Kyeshna (Kay) Jansen at (734) 216-1024 or by email at kjansen@healthmarkets.com.

You can also check out her Facebook page  or her corporate link: HealthMarkets.com/local-health-insurance-agent/kjansen.