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Medicare Open Enrollment: Frequently Asked Questions

Medicare Open Enrollment: Frequently Asked Questions

Medicare’s Open Enrollment period can be confusing. It often leaves seniors and their families with many questions.
The good news is you’ve come to the right place. This FAQ is provided by Five Star Senior Living to help answer your questions about Medicare Open Enrollment.

Q: What is the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?

A: Medicare Open Enrollment permits those enrolled in Medicare to make changes to their plan. This includes cost, coverage, and the insurance provider they choose to work with in the year ahead.

Q: When does Medicare Open Enrollment take place?  

A: Medicare Open Enrollment takes place every year from October 15th through December 7th.

This should not be confused with the Part B General Enrollment Period which runs from January 1st to March 31st. The General Enrollment period allows people already on Medicare to enroll in or change their prescription drug coverage.

Q: When do changes made during Open Enrollment go into effect?

A: Changes made during Medicare Open Enrollment go into effect January 1 of the following year.

Q: What are my choices for Medicare coverage during the Open Enrollment period?

A: 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). A Medicare Advantage Plan includes prescription drug coverage and, often, a wider choice of in-network medical providers.

These plans are offered by private health insurance companies through an HMO or PPO.

Q: Can I change Medigap coverage during Fall Open Enrollment?

A: Depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to change your Medigap coverage during the October through December Open Enrollment period. The best time to change coverage is during your initial six-month Medicare enrollment period when you enroll in Medicare Part B. 

Q: Why would I want to make changes to my Medicare plan?

A: There are a number of reasons to change your Medicare plan. Perhaps you want to start seeing a new specialist, but the practice isn’t covered under your existing plan.

If you recently moved, you might want to find a plan with more providers in your new area.

Maybe you’ve experienced financial hardship and want to find a plan that costs less. Or just the opposite. Maybe circumstances have changed and you’re able to pay a little bit more for better coverage.

In addition, each year Medicare plans and options change. You may be able to find a more desirable plan—with a wider range of providers in your network—for the same or less money.

Q: Where can I learn more about my Medicare options?

A: Information about Medicare plans for the new year typically becomes available on the Medicare website in October.

To review your choices in Medicare plans, use the Plan Finder Tool on the Medicare website.

Have more questions about Medicare Open Enrollment?
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