Medicare open enrollment is a period of time each year during which people who are on Medicare can change their health plan or their prescription drug coverage for the following year. This year’s open enrollment period is from Oct. 15-Dec. 7, 2013.
Here are your benefit options:
- Original Medicare: Part A (hospital coverage) and Part B (medical coverage)
- Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C): A combination of Part A and Part B. It may also include prescription drug coverage (Part D)
- Medicare Prescription Drug Plan: Part D
Here are your options for making changes:
- Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan or vice versa.
- Change from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that does offer prescription drug coverage or vice versa.
- Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
- Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.
There is a second Medicare enrollment period that runs from Jan. 1-Feb. 14, 2014, but you will not have as many options during that time period for making changes. Here is what you can do:
- If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you can leave your plan and switch to Original Medicare.
- If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you can also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
Before making any changes, review your current plan(s), including any changes in cost, coverage or benefits that will go into effect in 2014. If you are satisfied with your current coverage and costs, you don’t need to do anything. If you would like to make a change, now is the time to do so (your new benefits will begin on Jan. 1, 2014).
If you need help deciding whether to make a change, this Medicare Plan Finder will let you compare plans, including coverage, benefits and estimated costs. It will also show you how Medicare has rated the quality and performance of each plan. If you need additional help, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) or call 1-800-MEDICARE and say the word “Agent.”