Medicare Basics: What is Open Enrollment?

October 15th, 2019

Medicare users can choose a new plan between October 15 and December 7 every year. Here’s what you need to know.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program. Most of its beneficiaries are adults 65 and older. 

What does it cover?

There are different types of Medicare that cover different aspects of healthcare services. Medicare Part A covers things like hospital stays, hospice care, and recovery in a skilled nursing facility. Part B covers outpatient care, medical supplies, and certain services. Part D provides prescription drug coverage. Wondering where Part C fits in? Part C is typically a bundle plan that usually includes Parts A, B, and D. This is also called a Medicare Advantage plan.

What does Open Enrollment mean?

Medicare plans come from insurance companies and other, Medicare-approved private companies. Because of this, there is an Open Enrollment period between October 15 and December 7. During this time, Medicare users can evaluate their plan and select a different one. 

If your needs or health change, or you want a less expensive plan, Open Enrollment is your opportunity to select a plan that works better for you.

Who is eligible?

Don’t have Medicare yet? You won’t be able to sign up during Open Enrollment. Once you turn 65, or if you are turning 65 in the next three months you become eligible. If you aren’t getting Social Security benefits yet, you must sign up for Medicare. If you DO get Social Security benefits, you’ll be automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B.

Here are the changes you can make during Open Enrollment: 

  • Add or drop Part D prescription drug coverage
  • Change your Original Medicare plan (Parts A and B) to a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to an Original Medicare plan 
  • Find a new Advantage or Part D plan

Though it may sound like a pain to switch up your healthcare every year, reevaluating your plan is an important step. Insurance companies can change your plan and coverage every year, so it’s important to make sure you’re still getting the coverage you need. Plus, since the prices fluctuate, you might be able to get a better deal with a different plan. 

Luckily, there’s an easy way to compare Medicare plans. To make it easier for our readers, Senior Savings has a dedicated Medicare center to help you compare plans and find what’s best for you.

You Might Like

SeniorSavings is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission for those purchases. We appreciate your support.

Copyright ©  2021  Senior Savings