What Can I Do During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?
Each year from October 15 to December 7, Medicare offers you the option to make changes to your Medicare coverage.Read more
If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan but would like to make a change, you can likely take advantage of the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period.
This Open Enrollment Period occurs each year between January 1 and March 31.
Medicare is a federal health insurance program designed for seniors aged 65 and older as well as people with qualifying disabilities.
Medicare consists of several program offerings: Medicare A covers care in hospitals or similar institutions, like skilled nursing facilities. Medicare B focuses on coverage for outpatient medical care. (Together, Medicare Parts A and B are often referred to as traditional Medicare.)
Medicare Part D, only available through private insurers, covers prescription medications.
Medicare Advantage — also known as Medicare Part C — is an alternative to traditional Medicare. These plans are available through private health insurers that contract with Medicare.
Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, includes Medicare Parts A and B. Most Part C plans also include prescription drug coverage.
Depending on the plan you choose, it may also cover such extras as certain dental services, gym memberships, or meal benefits. Costs will also depend on the plan you select.
If you are already enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you can choose to take one of the following actions from January 1 to March 31:
You are not required to make any changes during this open enrollment period. However, note that if you do, you can change plans only once during this timeframe.
Meanwhile, you are not permitted do the following between the January 1 and March 31 open enrollment period:
Changes you make during this January 1 to March 31 time period will go into effect on the first of the month after the plan you have chosen receives your enrollment information.
Regardless of the time of year, you can seek out guidance from professionals via:
Medicare’s toll-free number, 1-800-MEDICARE
Medicare’s Plan Finder — This allows you to compare plans in terms of cost, coverage, providers, and more
Your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) — SHIP counselors are trained to provide impartial information about Medicare.
For more information on Medicare Advantage, be sure to check out the following resources:
Consider consulting with a qualified elder law attorney in your area for additional guidance.