For those eligible for Medicare, Open Enrollment is the time to reconsider your options, select a plan, or make other adjustments to your healthcare coverage. The following are answers to key questions about Medicare Open Enrollment.
What Is Medicare?
Medicare is a federal fee-for-service health insurance program in two parts – hospital insurance (Part A) and medical insurance (Part B). For your medical coverage, you have the option to choose either Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) offered by a private insurance company. If you choose Original Medicare, you may also enroll in prescription drug coverage (Part D) and purchase supplemental Medigap coverage.
Who Is Eligible for Medicare?
People aged 65 and older in the U.S. are eligible for Medicare. Some younger people with disabilities, End-Stage Renal Disease, or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) may also qualify. Enrollees are required to pay monthly premiums. Most people pay nothing for Part A coverage but are required to pay monthly Part B premiums. Some Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) require additional premiums. Prescription drug coverage (Part D) premiums vary depending on which plan you choose.
When Is Medicare Open Enrollment?
Open Enrollment for Medicare occurs from October 15 to December 7 every year. Changes in your coverage made during Open Enrollment begin on January 1 of the following year. For example, if you enroll in a different Medicare Advantage Plan at any time from October 15 to December 7, 2023, you will be covered by your old plan until December 31, 2023. Your new coverage under the new plan will go into effect on January 1, 2024.
Can You Switch Plans During Open Enrollment?
Yes, during Open Enrollment, you may:
- Keep your current coverage
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another
- Join, switch, or leave a Part D prescription drug plan
What Are the Benefits of Reviewing Your Current Medicare Plan?
Even if you are satisfied with your current Medicare plan, reviewing it during Open Enrollment for any changes from the previous year to evaluate new options is a wise decision. Medicare costs and benefits often change from year to year. A careful comparison could help you get better coverage or save money on healthcare costs. Review the “Annual Notice of Change” letter from your current plan. Look for a list of plans in your area in your “Medicare & You” handbook or medicare.gov/plan-compare. Look for plan costs, coverage for your prescription drugs, whether your preferred providers are in the plan’s network, and benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing.
During Medicare Open Enrollment, you have a limited window of time to make changes in your Medicare healthcare coverage. After December 7, you cannot switch plans until Open Enrollment comes around again the following year. If you need assistance choosing suitable Medicare options for you, our friendly agent is happy to help.