Medicare Open Enrollment
Medicare open enrollment for 2021 is currently available. If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare plan, this is the time of year when you can make changes to your Medicare coverage.
How does Medicare open enrollment work?
Open enrollment for health insurance is a period of a few months near the end of each year that people can review and make changes to their healthcare plans.
During open enrollment, a beneficiary can:
- Switch Medicare Advantage plans, switch from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare or vice versa,
- Jjoin a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan,
- Switch from one Part D plan to another, or
- Drop Medicare Part D coverage entirely.
Benefits of Medicare Open Enrollment
It's a good idea to participate in open enrollment each year because you could make changes to your plan that will get you better coverage and save you money. Every year, insurance companies can make changes to Medicare plans that can impact how out-of-pocket costs. They make changes to deductibles, monthly premiums, drug costs, and provider or pharmacy networks (hospitals, doctors, or pharmacies that negotiate prices with insurance companies). They can also make changes to each plan's formulary (their list of covered drugs).
Because of these yearly changes, it's a good idea to review your current Medicare plan every year to make sure it meets your current needs. Additional benefits of re-evaluating and potentially changing coverage during Open Enrollment:
- If you are able to switch to better prescription drug coverage, you can reduce out-of-pocket costs and ensure your needed prescriptions are still covered.
- Switching Medicare Advantage or Part D plans can keep your doctor in-network and save you money. Research shows that the average consumer can save $300 or more if they review their Part D coverage.
- If you can, find a higher quality plan. Plans with 5-star ratings are considered high quality. If you have a plan that is less than 3, consider using Open Enrollment to switch.
What can I change during Medicare open enrollment?
During the open enrollment period, you can change your Medicare part D (drug) plan. You can change to a different advantage plan or switch from traditional Medicare to a Medicare advantage plan.
You can also purchase or change your Medigap plan. Prices may be better during open enrollment. Remember that if you buy a gap plan after your initial coverage period, the insurance company can look at your pre-existing conditions and potentially deny coverage for those conditions for a period of time.
How do I make changes to my Medicare plan?
Each plan is sold by a third-party company. You will need to contact these companies directly to make changes. Changes are not managed through Medicare.gov. Brenda Williams, a health insurance specialist with over 13 years of experience, can help you figure out what changes to make and how to make them. She can tell you what plans are available in your area and advise you on which plan would work best for your family. You can set up an appointment with her here.
Open Enrollment Dates 2020
The open enrollment period begins October 15th and ends December 7th.
How long is open enrollment for Medicare?
Open enrollment for Medicare is available the full period, from December 15th to December 7th.
Any coverage changes you make to your plan will take effect on January 1st, 2021.
Need expert help?
If you would like professional assistance, contact Brenda. She is an expert in health insurance and specializes in Medicare. She is happy to answer any questions, help explain the plans, compare options, and find what is best for you and your family. She can meet virtually, over the phone, or in-person.