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What you need to know about annual enrollment

Whether you’re already an Aetna® Medicare D-SNP member or thinking about becoming one, you likely have questions about the Annual Enrollment Period. Get the answers you need here.

Hallie Levine By Hallie Levine

Annual enrollment is your chance to choose a new health insurance plan with new benefits. It might be tempting to skip exploring your options and just stick with what you’ve got in order to save some time and energy. But don’t. Why?

“Benefits change from year to year, as do your own personal health goals and needs,” says Ashley Shearer. She’s the director of business and operations with the Aetna National Dual Eligible Special Needs Plan (D-SNP) Program Office in Pennsylvania.

Still, there’s a lot of information to read through and think about. We want to make things easier for you. So here are answers to some of the most common questions about how to enroll in an Aetna D-SNP.


What is annual enrollment?

Annual enrollment is the time of year when you can enroll in a new plan. For Medicare plans, including Aetna D-SNP, it happens from October 15 to December 7. If you do make a change, your new coverage will begin January 1.


What is my current coverage level?

Great question! The answer is different for everyone. If you’re an Aetna D-SNP member, you received a Summary of Benefits when you first signed up. It gives answers to common questions about your coverage and costs, says Shearer, including ones like:

  • Do you have an annual deductible?
  • What is your copay?
  • How much is my dental or over-the-counter allowance?

You can also find this information at the Aetna D-SNP member website. Just go to If you still can’t find all the answers you need, Shearer suggests calling the member services team.


How do I find out about plan changes coming in the new year?

Aetna D-SNP members get an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) letter in the mail in late September, says Shearer. It explains any changes in the plan’s cost and coverage for next year.

“Every year, we make changes to the benefits we offer,” says Shearer. So be sure to read the ANOC carefully. You want to be sure that the changes are right for you.


Is my primary care doctor still on my old plan or in the new plan I want to enroll in?

This is a very important question that’s often ignored, says Michelle Ingvalson. She’s the manager of Medicaid eligibility and policy on the National D-SNP Program Office team. Ingvalson suggests you call an Aetna licensed sales agent to check. But if you forget to make the call, don’t worry.

“Right after you enroll in your new plan, you’ll get a welcome call from us. You can double check that all your physicians and prescriptions are covered on the new plan and that you understand everything that’s offered,” says Ingvalson. If they’re not covered, the Aetna agent may help you look for another doctor. Or they can let you cancel your enrollment application or help you find a new plan where your doctors are in it.

It’s often a good idea to meet with your Aetna sales agent before you enroll, says Ingvalson. Together you can go through your list of doctors and prescriptions to make sure they’re all in your new network. Just bring along a photo ID, such as your driver’s license, and your original Medicare card. Doing so will help speed up the process. If you have a Medicaid card, bring that too.


What if I find out later that I don’t like my plan? Can I switch?

Most of the time, you can. Most Aetna D-SNP members qualify for the Medicare Extra Help benefit, says Ingvalson. It allows members to make changes to their coverage one time during each of the special enrollment periods:

  • January to March
  • April to June
  • July to September

If you make a change, it will start the first day of the next month. If you want to make another change, you’ll have to wait for the next Special Enrollment Period.

What if you want to make a change between October and December? Remember, all people with Medicare can make changes to their coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period from October 15 through December 7.


What if I don’t want to change my plan?

Then you don’t have to do anything.* “A lot of our members stay in the Aetna Medicare D-SNP plan. They’re really happy with it,” says Shearer. “A big selling point for our members is that they have a dedicated care team to support them. They’ll help connect members to health services and community programs, and even help set up transportation.”

*Generally, your plan will automatically renew on January 1. If your plan is not renewing on January 1, you will get a notice from your plan to let you know.


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