Open Enrollment: Who, What, Why and How

hands holding wooden cutouts of medical equipment and a stick person

Many find that working your way through the Medicare Open Enrollment process for the first time can be very daunting! Seniors are bombarded with information by mail and even on television commercials but what information is actually necessary for open enrollment?

Here’s a quick overview of what you should know to help make the most of Medicare:

  • Medicare Open Enrollment allows older adults enrolled in Medicare to make changes to their plan once each year. Open Enrollment takes place every year from October 15th through December 7th.
  • Any changes that you make during this time will go into effect January 1st of 2024.
  • During the Open Enrollment period, you can sign up for original Medicare (parts A and B), Medicare Part D (prescription drug coverage), or a Medicare Advantage Plan (part C).
  • Seniors may be enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan in lieu of traditional Medicare, these types of plans are offered by private insurance companies through an HMO or PPO.
  • Each year Medicare plans, providers and options change. This year, plan premiums are historically low so with some research, you might be able to find a more desirable plan with a wider range of providers to better meet your needs. Medicare plans for the upcoming year typically become available on in October. To review potential options, use the Plan Finder Tool on the Medicare website.
  • There are also Medicare specialists available to help you through this process. You can search to find one near you. It’s important to call for an appointment early, however. Don’t wait until the deadline is looming to try to book time.