The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period takes place from October 15 to December 7 each year, allowing you to assess and modify your Medicare coverage based on your changing healthcare needs. To make the most of your Medicare coverage in 2024, here's some information to help you prepare for the Medicare Annual Enrollment.
- If you’re already enrolled in Medicare, you can make changes to your plan during open enrollment.
- Medicare Open Enrollment for 2024 plans starts Oct. 15, 2023, and ends on Dec. 7, 2023.
- Changes you make during 2023 open enrollment go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
When is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
The "Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan annual election period," also known as the Annual Enrollment Period (AEP), is happening from Oct. 15, 2023, to Dec. 7, 2023. If you submit your request by Dec. 7, 2023, any changes to your Medicare coverage will take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. While the AEP is the main period for selecting a plan, there are other enrollment periods throughout the year known as "open enrollment" or "special enrollment" periods. More information on these periods is provided below.
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What can you do during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
During Medicare's Annual Enrollment, individuals already enrolled in Medicare have the opportunity to make changes to their plan coverage. These changes include:
- Switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, or vice versa.
- Changing to a Medicare Advantage plan with or without prescription drug coverage.
- Switching from one Medicare Advantage plan to another.
- Joining, switching, or leaving a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
- Switching to a new private insurer.
When shopping for Medicare plans during Annual Enrollment, it's important to consider the following coverage details:
- Out-of-pocket costs, such as premiums, deductibles, copayments, and any other payments not covered by Medicare.
- Prescription drug coverage, including eligibility requirements, medication coverage and costs, and the difference between generic and brand name drugs.
- Consider your healthcare needs, such as any upcoming surgeries or doctor appointments in the coming year.
- Keep in mind your travel plans, as Original Medicare typically does not cover services outside of the country. If you plan on traveling internationally, it may be wise to purchase a supplemental insurance plan that provides coverage in case of an emergency.
What are the different parts of Medicare available during Annual enrollment?
During the Open Enrollment Period, all four parts of Medicare are available for enrollment and consideration.
Original Medicare (Parts A and B):
- Medicare Part A is hospital insurance and typically has no premium cost for individuals who have paid payroll taxes for at least 10 years.
- Medicare Part B is medical insurance and requires payment of premiums, copays, and deductibles. The Part B premium for 2023 is $164.90 or higher, depending on income.
- Original Medicare does not cover everything, so individuals who need prescription drugs, routine vision, dental, or hearing care may want to consider additional coverage options.
Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage):
- Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is offered by private insurers and often combines Parts A, B, and D into one comprehensive plan.
- Medicare Part D is optional prescription drug coverage offered by private companies.
Medicare Advantage plans and Prescription Drug Coverage:
- Many Medicare Advantage plans include coverage for prescriptions and may also offer benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing.
- Additional monthly premiums may be required for Medicare Advantage plans in addition to the Part B premium, but the added benefits may be worthwhile depending on individual needs.
Important Medicare enrollment dates to mark on your calendar
Oct 15 - Dec 7
Jan 1 - Mar 1
Medicare Annual Enrollment
Medicare changes take effect
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment (extra time for Medicare Advantage plan members to switch or drop their MA plan)
What if I miss Medicare's Annual Enrollment?
If you miss the open enrollment period, there is a likelihood that you will be automatically re-enrolled in your plan, as long as it is still offered in your area. You will continue with the same plan for the following year if you continue paying the necessary premiums.
However, there are circumstances in which you can change your plan outside of the open enrollment period. These circumstances include:
Special Enrollment Period (SEP): You can join or switch to another plan when certain life events occur, such as moving or losing other insurance coverage.
Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (MAOEP): If you already have a Medicare Advantage plan, you can enroll in a different Medicare Advantage plan or return to Original Medicare between January 1st and March 31st.
5-star Special Enrollment Period: If a Medicare plan with a "5-star" rating is available in your area, you have the option to switch from your current Medicare plan to a Medicare plan with a "5-star" quality rating. This special enrollment period can be used once between December 8th and November 30th of the following year.
Lehigh Partners Senior Benefits is here to help
Even if you are satisfied with your current Medicare plan, it is important to review any changes for the upcoming year and compare different options, such as Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. We are here to assist you in understanding all the information so that you can confidently choose the right plan.
Our licensed Lehigh Partners sales agents are available to help you. You can easily schedule an appointment to discuss your options with our experienced agents who work with multiple insurance companies.
For more information, you can also directly contact Medicare. They can be reached by calling 800-MEDICARE (800-633-4227) (TTY: 877-486-2048) at any time, as their helpline is available 24 hours a day. You can also visit the Medicare website for additional resources.
CMS recommends you consider these things when choosing A Medicare Plan
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