Every year, the Medicare open enrollment period happens between October 15 and December 7. At this time, Medicare beneficiaries have the option to change their health plans and prescription drug coverage to better suit their needs for the coming year.1
How to Search For Medicare Plan Options
It is important to take time to review your current coverage at the end of every year and determine if it still meets your needs. Information for next year’s plan will be available in the beginning of October.2 There are plenty of tools readily available online or by phone to learn more about other plans. Medicare offers a Plan Finder tool online or you can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).
You should also receive materials, such as “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC), from your current provider. Lastly, you can contact the State Health Insurance Assistance Program to get free health insurance counseling in your area.
Can Anyone Make Changes During the Open Enrollment Period?
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period is only for existing Medicare beneficiaries.
If you are new to Medicare, the enrollment period begins three months before and goes until three months after you turn 65. If you miss this initial enrollment period, you would have to wait until Medicare’s general enrollment period, which runs from January 1 through March 31.3
Are Changes Made During Open-Enrollment Effective Immediately?
No, changes made during Medicare’s open enrollment period will not go into effect until January 1 of the next year.
What Changes Can Be Made During Medicare’s Open Enrollment?
During the open enrollment period, you have the ability to join, leave, or switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan, as well as, add or drop drug coverage. Listed below are a few coverage options to choose from when deciding your coverage for the upcoming year.4
Medigap Coverage is designed to help cover out-of-pocket costs of medical expenses that your original Medicare plan does not cover. One thing to note is, not all plans are offered in every state. Medigap Coverage helps cover the costs of things such as:
- Emergency medical care when traveling abroad5
You can adjust, add or drop your Medigap coverage during open enrollment.
Medicare Advantage (or Part C) is a type of healthcare plan offered by private companies contracted through Medicare. It’s designed to combine Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance) as well as, in some instances, offer a prescription drug plan or other additional coverage.6
During open enrollment, you have the option to either join a Medicare Drug Plan, switch to a different Medicare Advantage Plan with or without drug coverage, or drop your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare.4
Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Plan)
For those who are utilizing the original Medicare plan, it is crucial to check for changes to your Part D coverage every year, but for those who have a Medicare Advantage plan, this may not apply to you. Medical expenses and prescription costs can add up quickly, but Medicare Part D is extra coverage people can elect to help lower costs of prescription drugs.6
Personal situations and coverage options change each year, which makes reviewing your coverage options a key factor in saving money and having better coverage.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.