When is the Open Enrollment for Medicare?

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People new to Medicare and those already enrolled in Medicare have many questions about the federal program. The good agents, like those partnering with Empower Brokerage, will accurately answer your questions. One of the most critical questions is: When is the Open Enrollment for Medicare? The answer encompasses a wealth of information that can lead you to successfully navigate your Medicare journey.

When is the Open Enrollment for Medicare?

Each year, Medicare’s open enrollment begins on October 15 and closes on December 7. During these 54 days, those already enrolled in Medicare have several options. If they previously had original Medicare (Medicare Part A and B), then they can change to a Medicare Advantage (Part C) plan. Enrollees may also select a Medicare Supplement (Medigap or Part D) insurance plan that fits their prescription drug needs. Previous holders of Part D may also drop the coverage. Those who previously acquired a Part C plan can also swap out their policy with another Part C plan, or they may leave Part C entirely and revert to Part A and Part B. Whatever the case, the new Medicare plan choice will go into effect on January 1. Alternatively, if a person prefers their previous year’s plan, they can keep it for the upcoming year if the carrier offers it. You might ponder critical components of your plan before deciding to keep or change it, such as the out-of-pocket costs, prescriptions from your doctor, and future healthcare needs.

Furthermore, Medicare allows a Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period between January 1 and March 31. If you already obtained a Part C policy, you may change plans or return to Part A and B during this period. 

Can I enroll at any other time?

If you already have Medicare, certain situations can initiate special enrollment periods (SEP) for people who undergo significant life changes. For example, a Medicare beneficiary might move to another state where their current policy is no longer available from the insurance carrier. Many more incidents activate a SEP than one may realize.

When do new enrollees sign up for Medicare?

New enrollees have a seven-month window to enroll in Medicare. This period begins three months before your 65th birthday month and three months after your 65th birthday month. Failure to sign up for Medicare Part A, Part B, or Part D during this period could result in penalties. Exceptions exist for late enrollers of Part B still working and holding insurance with their employer or covered by their spouse’s insurance. Once that coverage ends, you will qualify for a SEP. Other circumstances that result in a special enrollment period for new enrollees in Part A and Part B include

  • You lost Medicaid coverage.
  • A natural disaster or a declared emergency impacts you or your authorized representative, legal guardian, or caregiver.
  • Your health plan or employer gave you inaccurate or misleading information that causes you to miss your chance to sign up.
  • Incarceration caused you to miss the opportunity to sign up.
  • You volunteer or serve in a foreign country.
  • You have TRICARE.
  • Other exceptional conditions caused you to miss out on enrolling.

How do I know if I need a new plan?

If you previously enrolled in Medicare Part C or Part D, you should receive an annual notice of change or ANOC letter in your September mail. This correspondence will tell you any changes to your current plan that will take effect in the new year. In contrast, the notice might inform you that your policy will no longer be available, and you will have to choose a new one during the Medicare open enrollment period.

Insurance agents should look out for your best interests, and Empower Brokerage allies with such professionals. When you have a knowledgeable agent by your side whose loyalty is to you, the customer, then that agent can educate you on the different insurance carriers’ plans available and assist you in selecting the right policy for you.

Got Medicare Questions?

We hope that this information on Medicare’s open enrollment is useful to you.

Let us help you answer your questions so that you can get back to the activities that you enjoy the most.

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About Joey Hinojosa

Joey Hinojosa graduated with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism and a master's degree in mass communications. He began working at Empower Brokerage in early 2022 and enjoys being creative in his writing, photography, videography, and other projects.

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