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What is Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

| October 21, 2022

What is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period   

Every year the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) for Medicare is from October 15 through December 7. This timeframe is sometimes also referred to as the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. During this period, anyone can make changes to their coverage and enroll in a Medicare plan.  

These changes can include:  

  • If you have Original Medicare, you can switch to a Medicare Advantage plan  
  • If you have a Medicare Advantage plan you can switch to Original Medicare.  
  • You can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to a different Medicare Advantage plan.  
  • You can join or drop a Medicare prescription drug plan.  

Why should I look for a new plan? 

Mostly because companies that offer Medicare health and drug plans make changes every year. They change things like coverage or coverage areas or providers in network. Do not assume that because your physician took your coverage last year that they will automatically take it next year. If they cannot reach an agreement with your insurer, they may not accept that plan. Then you end up with insurance but have a physician who may not see you, so what do you do? Prepare and have a plan. Plans in network pharmacies and pharmaceutical formularies can change each year. A company can drop a drug from their formulary or change its listed drug tier. Both could have a major impact on your back pocket. Another change can be your cost. Each year you need to verify which is applicable to your situation. Take the time to review your situation. It may be the only opportunity you have to make a change for next year, barring a special election period. 

How do people know if they to change plans? 

People in a Medicare health (Medicare Advantage plan) or prescription drug plan should always review the materials their insurer sends them about their plan. Review items like the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). If their plans are changing, you should make sure their plans will still meet your needs for the following year. If you are satisfied that their current plans will meet your needs for next year and that plan is offered in your area, then you do not need to do anything. 

If you elect a replacement plan in this Annual Enrollment Period, your new coverage will begin at the start of the following year on January 1st.