Medicare Open Enrollment – What You Need to Know

The Medicare Open Enrollment occurs every year between October 15th and December 7th. During this time, you can enroll in a new Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D drug coverage plan. You can also switch from either of these plans to regular Medicare.

Who should enroll?

Anyone who is dissatisfied with their current Medicare coverage should look into the options available during open enrollment. This is generally the only time of year when you’ll be able to switch your plan, so if you are having issues with payments or coverage, this is the time to shop around and try to get a better deal.

Even if you feel like you are currently satisfied with your current Medicare and Part D coverage, you should still shop around and see if you could get a better deal through the open enrollment process. You may find that another plan offers more thorough coverage or a lower price than your current plan. Some individuals are also eligible for Medigap coverage to handle areas of coverage that might not be covered under other Medicare plans.

You should receive a statement in the mail before the open enrollment starts, outlining your current plan and detailing any changes that may be occurring during the upcoming year. Be sure to read this carefully, since changes could mean that your plan will no longer be a good fit for you in the new year.

Keep in mind that standard Medicare eligibility requirements apply for all plans. Those who are 65 and older qualify, as well as those who have been on social security disability for more than 24 months. You can call 1-800-MEDICARE if you have any questions about your potential eligibility.

Know Your Timelines

While the enrollment period is from Oct-Dec, your new plan will not take effect until January 1 of the following year. If you need help with enrollment or have any questions about the process, you can call 1-800-MEDICARE to get answers to your queries and enroll over the phone if needed.

Keep in mind that if you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan and discover that the coverage is not what you need once you’ve received services, you can disenroll from the program and revert to basic Medicare during the Medicare Disenrollment Period.

The open enrollment for Medicare is not the same as the Marketplace related to the ACA. Those plans are typically not intended for those who are eligible for Medicare.