Wednesday, September 11, 2013


If you want the flexibility to change your mind about the insurance products you select from Extend Health after your enrollment call then DO NOT ENROLL BEFORE OCTOBER 15,2013.  It is a quirky Medicare thing. If you do you will be using a one time Medicare "Special Enrollment Period" aka an SEP that is provided because IBM's group insurance is going away. You are not allowed to make changes after that one time.

If you enroll on or after October 15, 2013 you will be enrolling during Medicare Open Enrollment which runs through December 7, 2013.  Then you can make as many changes as you want.


  1. My IBM Extend Health booklet says that I have until December 31, 2013 to enroll. How does the Medicare Open Enrollment apply?

  2. Two things are going on - you have a "Special Enrollment Period" because the IBM group insurance plan is terminating. Medicare law grants a ONE TIME insurance policy change because of the termination. The SEP actually goes from December 8 through the end of February 2014. HOWEVER,waiting to do it after December is a problem because you would NOT have insurance in Jan & Feb if you don't enroll in December. It happens that in this same time frame,you have Medicare's Open Enrollment period from Oct 15 - Dec 7. That is the time of year Medicare allows all eligible people to switch insurance plans. During that period you can call back as many times as you want and keep changing your mind on what you want.

  3. I checked with some Medicare specialists and the person said the SEP really is 63 days from when the corporate group plan ends - which is December 31, 2013. We think the agent who said if you enroll before 10/15/13 you will be locked in is wrong. However it is not wise to enroll before 10/15/13 because that is when the official 2014 private plan prices will be available on and you'll know exactly what is available in your zip code. After December 7th, you only have one chance to enroll and cannot change your mind. That is because at that point the SEP is officially in play even though the corporate group plan hasn't ended. Honestly, it is so complicated - just stick to enrolling between October 15 and December 7 and it'll be much simpler.