Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period runs from October 15 to December 7 every year.
During Open Enrollment, you can join or switch a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan.
Since Medicare plans change each year, it’s a good idea to make sure your coverage still meets your needs.
Can I change my Medicare plan at any time? Should I switch Medicare plans? When can you enroll in or change Medicare plans?
Medicare Open Enrollment explained
These are common questions among Medicare users. If you’re thinking about making a change to your coverage, you’ll want to mark October 15 - December 7 on your calendar. This is the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, an annual timeframe during which you can re-evaluate, add, drop, or switch your Medicare Advantage/Part C and/or Part D plan and compare it against all the others on the market.
When is the Open Enrollment Period?
If you’re using the Open Enrollment period to choose a new Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, that new coverage will begin on January 1.
To get a better understanding of Open Enrollment, take our Medicare assessment. This tool provides personalized cost estimates and Medicare plan type comparisons.
During Medicare Open Enrollment, the following can occur:
- Anyone who has (or is signing up for) Medicare Parts A or B can join or drop a Part D prescription drug plan.
- Anyone with Original Medicare (Parts A & B) can switch to a Medicare Advantage plan.
- Anyone with Medicare Advantage can drop it and switch back to just Original Medicare (Parts A & B).
- Anyone with Medicare Advantage can switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan.
- Anyone with a Part D prescription drug plan can switch to a new Part D prescription drug plan.
Why you should re-evaluate your Medicare coverage during Open Enrollment
Each year, insurance companies can make changes to Medicare plans that can impact out-of-pocket costs—monthly premiums, deductibles, drug costs, and provider or pharmacy “networks.” A network is a list of doctors, hospitals, or pharmacies that negotiate prices with insurance companies. They can also make changes to plan’s “formulary” (list of covered drugs).
Are Medicare Advantage plans worth it? This is something only you can decide. Given these yearly changes, it is a good idea to re-evaluate your current Medicare plan each year to make sure it still meets your needs. Below are some additional benefits of re-evaluating coverage during Open Enrollment:
- Switching to a prescription drug plan that better meets your individual needs can reduce out of pocket costs.
- Evaluate your plan to make sure that your doctor(s) remain in-network in the upcoming calendar year. If your doctor is no longer considered in-network, you will likely save money by switching plans to make sure your doctors remain in-network.
- Find a higher quality plan. Plans with a 5-star rating are considered high quality. If you are enrolled in a plan that is less than 3-stars, consider using Medicare's Open Enrollment period to switch.
What should I do next? Start comparing Medicare coverage and learn more about your plan options
If you’re wondering, “Which type of care is not covered by Medicare?” or “Does Medicare pay for prescriptions?”, we’re here to help:
- Answer the Age Well Planner questionnaire and get a free personalized cost estimate and compare your Medicare plan options.
- Get connected with an unbiased expert who can walk you through your options.
Once a plan is chosen that fits your needs, you will need to inform your physician and other healthcare providers of the new coverage.