Every year, current Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to make changes to their coverage. This is known as the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, and it lasts from October 15th to December 7th.

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

Here is a quick guide on everything that you can (and can’t do) during Open Enrollment.

Fast Facts: Medicare Annual Enrollment Period 

  • The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare starts on October 15th and extends through December 7th.
  • Any changes to your Medicare plan made during this time have a Jan. 1st.
  • This is the only time of year that current Medicare beneficiaries can make certain changes to their coverage, like switching to Medicare Advantage or enrolling in Part D
  • If you’re happy with your Medicare plan, there’s no need to act during AEP. But if you need help finding a new plan or adding new coverage, your Personal Benefits Manager can help (starting on October 15th).

Q: When is Medicare Annual Enrollment?

The Annual Enrollment Period, sometimes referred to as “Open Enrollment”, begins every year on the 15th of October and runs through December 7th.

Q: What Can You Do During Medicare Open Enrollment?

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period allows Medicare beneficiaries an opportunity to:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (Part C)
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Switch back to Original Medicare
  • Add a Part D prescription drug plan (PDP)
  • Change or cancel your Part D Plan

 If you do any of these things during AEP, the changes will take effect on January 1st.

Q: Do I Need to Do Anything During Annual Enrollment?

Not all Medicare beneficiaries will need to make a change to their plan during AEP. If you’re happy with your current Medicare coverage, then you don’t need to do anything. You will be automatically re-enrolled in your current plan options. You should receive an Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC) in the mail, describing anything new.

If you think you might need to switch plans or add drug coverage, then AEP is the only time to act in time for next year.

What to Consider for Medicare Annual Enrollment?

Not sure if you need to change plans during AEP? Here are some things to consider:

What are the Pros and Cons of the Medical Savings Account or MSA?

  • Has your financial situation changed and you need to find a lower premium?
  • Are you in need of a Part D Prescription Drug Plan that you didn’t need before?
  • Are you already enrolled in Medicare Advantage, but are interested in changing your coverage?

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is a time to make critical changes in time for the new year. But if you feel good about the plan you’re in, you don’t have to lift a finger. Just keep an eye on your mail for the ANOC (mentioned above).

If You Need Help During Medicare Annual Enrollment, Your Personal Benefits Manager Will Be Ready

Starting October 15th, you can meet with your Personal Benefits Manager for a free, no-obligation consultation. If you know what you’re looking for, we can help you make those changes fast. If you’re unsure about what you need, we can help you understand the options that are on the table.

No-cost consultations begin on October 15th, but you can click here to schedule an appointment directly. This is a busy time of year for the whole team at MediGap Advisors, so we recommend securing your consultation as soon as possible.

Looking for more help with Medicare? The MediGap Advisors Blog is updated weekly with professionally curated tips, tricks, and strategies to keep both your Medicare and your retirement strategy in line.

Here are some additional articles on Medicare AEP: The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period is Almost Here – What You Need to Know | Should You Switch to a Medicare MSA Plan This Fall?

Here are some additional pages related to this article: Annual Election Period Information | Whether You’re New to Medicare or Not, Know Your Medicare Supplement Options

Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage.