|Between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7, Medicare participants can make changes to their plan(s). Here are a few reasons you may want to take advantage of this open enrollment period.|
Every fall, Medicare health and drug plan providers publish information on changes that will take effect the following year. As a result, people on Medicare have the opportunity to make the following types of changes to their plans during the open enrollment period, which runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7:
- Switch from Original (Traditional) Medicare (Parts A and B) to Medicare Advantage (Part C), or vice versa.
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
- Switch from one drug plan (Part D) to another.
You’ll notice this list does not mention Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy changes. The open enrollment period for Medigap is the six months following your enrollment in Medicare Part B. After this period, insurance companies generally are not required to sell you a Medigap policy. If they do offer coverage after your open enrollment period, they may charge you higher premiums. Keep in mind that Medigap policies are only available to people who have Medicare Parts A and B, not those with Medicare Advantage.
There is also an open enrollment period from Jan. 1 to March 31, when you can change your Medicare Advantage plan. During that period, however, you can’t switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or make changes regarding drug plans. For complete details, go right to the source — the Medicare website.