What is the Medicare Open-Enrollment Period?
Each year Medicare has an Open Enrollment Period during which Medicare recipients can make certain changes in their Medicare coverage. For example, during the Open Enrollment Period, Medicare recipients can:
- Switch from Original Medicare (Part A&B) to a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C)
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C) to Original Medicare (Part A&B).
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to a different Medicare Advantage Plan
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer prescription drug coverage
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does offer prescription drug coverage
- Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D)
- Switch from one Part D plan to another Part D plan
- Drop your Part D plan altogether
When does this year’s Open-Enrollment Period start and end?
The Medicare Open Enrollment Period for the year 2020 begins on October 15, 2019, and runs through December 7, 2019. Changes made during the Open Enrollment Period become effective January 1, 2020.
The Medicare Open-Enrollment Period is Not for Everyone
The Open-Enrollment Period is not for people who are enrolling in Medicare for the first time or for people who are shopping for Medicare Supplement Plans (also called Medigap Insurance).
The Medicare Supplement Insurance Open-Enrollment Period
The Medicare Supplement Insurance Open Enrollment Period starts the month you turn age 65 and enroll in Medicare Part B. It lasts for 6 months. For example, if you turn age 65 in June and enroll in Part B, your Open-Enrollment Period is from June through November. During the Open Enrollment Period, insurance companies cannot ask you medical questions and must issue you a Medicare Supplement policy. However, after the Open Enrollment Period, insurance companies can ask you medical questions and can refuse to issue you a policy.