What is Medicare Open Enrollment? | GoMedigap

Medicare Open Enrollment

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Content Last Updated: October 2018

Open Enrollment Period (aka Annual Election Period) October 15 - December 7

What & When is Medicare Open Enrollment?

Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period has many names. Other names for Open Enrollment include:

  • Annual Election Period
  • Annual Enrollment Period
  • Fall Open Enrollment Period

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period begins on October 15th and ends on December 7th every year. It is the only opportunity during the year to make changes to your Medicare Advantage and/or Part D for the upcoming year.

  • Please note that AEP does not apply to your Medigap policy. Your Medicare Supplement insurance policy is guaranteed renewable. This means you do not need to take any action to continue your Medigap coverage as long as you continue to pay your premiums on time.

Questions to Ask During Medicare AEP

This is a great time to research and evaluate your financial and medical situation. Many insurance agencies will encourage you to explore what options are available to you even if you have been completely content with your coverage during the past year. This is because there may still be a less expensive, or better suited health plan available for you.

It is a time to weigh the costs and benefits of your coverage while considering what kind of coverage you might need for the upcoming year. If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan but have been interested in learning about basic Medicare and Medicare Supplemental insurance, now is the time to research and weigh your options!

To make the most of this period, you should begin by researching your options. Ask yourself these appropriate questions:

1. What do you like and dislike about the Medicare coverage that you’re receiving? Does it meet your medical and financial needs?

When you think about what you want from your health insurance coverage, don’t be afraid to ask for more than you think you can get. If you are paying premiums and co-payments that you think are too expensive, it is quite possible that there is another plan or method of coverage that will offer similar coverage with lesser or no co-payments. Make sure you are clear about what you are looking for and think about how much you want to pay and what kind of coverage you want for the next year.

2. What are your health insurance options?

When you first consider Medicare coverage you have two choices to make – you can either get basic Medicare or a Medicare Advantage Plan.

If you choose a Medicare Advantage plan, you are choosing not to enroll in basic Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans offer you low to no monthly premiums, but they require co-payments and more out of pocket expenses and may be a good option for anyone who is currently healthy and not concerned with acquiring any health conditions.

Medicare Supplemental insurance plans are additional insurance to cover the gaps in your basic Medicare coverage. They require monthly premiums but cover more of your out of pocket medical expenses.

3. Can you save money?

It’s time to consider the funny notion of actually saving money on your health care coverage!

There are always expenses associated with health insurance. You are either paying out of pocket expenses or premiums. However, if you know your options and can make educated decisions about your insurance coverage you could end up saving money.

How to Take Action During AEP

There are many actions you can take during AEP to adjust your coverage to fit your needs.

Sign Up for Medicare Part D Online

If you are interested in or currently have a Part D plan, you can:

  • Join a Medicare Part D plan for coverage on prescription drugs
  • Switch from one Part D Plan to another Part D plan

We have a free, online tool that can help you find, compare, and choose Part D plans. To use this tool, enter your zip code, your local pharmacy, and the medications you are taking. It will automatically generate a list of the best plans for you. You can find this tool by visiting this link. 

If you need additional help, you can check out our how-to guide on how to find the right Part D plan for you. It will walk you through the step-by-step instructions on how to use the tool, and help get you to the plan that you need.

Guide to Enrolling in Part D

How to Sign Up for Medicare Part D by GoMedigap

AEP for Medicare Advantage Policyholders

If you are a Medicare Advantage policyholder, you can take the following actions during AEP:

  • Change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage (and vice versa)
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Advantage plan
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan without prescription drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan with drug coverage (and vice versa)

During this period, anyone who is currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan can switch to a different Advantage plan, switch insurers, or switch from an Advantage plan to a Medicare Supplement plan. That is why this period is so important for anyone currently covered or interested in Medicare Advantage plans.

One of the many advantages of Medigap policies is that you can switch plans or insurers at any time of the year. However, for anyone interested or enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, AEP is the only time of the year that you can make changes to your Advantage plan.

AEP for Medicare Supplement Policyholders

AEP does not apply to your Medigap policy. You do not need to take any action to continue your Medigap coverage as long as you continue to pay your premiums on time.

As always, if your Medigap policy is expected to have a rate increase in the near future, GoMedigap will reach out to you via phone and email to help you reevaluate your options. Our RateWatch team proactively monitors your rates to determine if you might find better value with another plan and/or company.  If you happen to get a rate increase notice from your insurance carrier before we have the opportunity to reach out to you, please call us for assistance.

Call GoMedigap, the experts in Medigap at (866) 895-3258 for help!

To make sure you know what options are available to you, enlist the help of a professional like GoMedigap.

GoMedigap represents over 30 different insurance companies and has a proprietary “quote tool” that generates custom Medigap quotes. You can compare plans and rates from many companies and policies to ensure you are choosing the right plan for you.

We also have our free Rate Watch Service, which proactively notifies clients when they can save money on a different Medicare Supplement plan. It’s a quick, painless way to see where you can save money. You won’t have to hear someone’s sales pitch or feel pressured to sign up.

Contact us today or give us a call directly at (866) 895-3258 if you need assistance. We would love to help you confidently make your Medicare-related decisions.

Compare Your Medicare Supplement Rates Immediately!

11 Replies to “Medicare Open Enrollment”

    1. Hi Jane,
      If you have not signed up for Medicare Part D yet, please enroll directly at Medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to obtain your prescription drug coverage.

    1. Thank you for the excellent question, Murphy!

      If you would like to keep your current Medicare Part D plan, and you haven’t been notified that the plan is discontinuing, then you can keep that same plan for next year by taking no action.

      You might want to be careful about ensuring that plan is still the best plan for you going in to next year. These Part D plans can change in a number of ways – including monthly premiums (what you pay for the plan), formularies (the list of medications they cover), deductibles, copays, coinsurance, etc.

      Even if your medications haven’t changed much, the plan may have changed enough going in to next year that it may no longer be the best for you.

      We advise everyone take 15 minutes to review their coverage to ensure there are no surprises and that your plan is still best. You can do this fairly quickly online by reviewing our “Guide to Finding and Enrolling in the Right Part D Plan.

      You can also receive help by speaking with one of our licensed and knowledgeable agents at (800) 310-2550.

      Thank you again for your question and please let us know if we can help with anything else!

  1. My wife takes 4 meds. Searching medicare.gov for plans we came across a Humana Walmart plan that showed annual cost of $380 at the pharmacy but only $268 on mail-order.
    Looking in more detail they list, under mail-order, sertraline and simvastatin as $8 each for 90 days BUT FOR levothyroxine and metoprolol they say $0(zero) under both “deductible’ and ‘initial coverage level’ for 90 days. CAN THAT $0 BE TRUE?
    Under Pharmacy, they quote $14.20 and $8.20 for the two $0 drugs and $11.80 and $9.89 for the two $8 drugs
    Too good be true ???

  2. Further to my previous posting, I take Sertraline, Losartan and Amlodopine. This year I have used Silverscript. I see on the Medicare.Gov there is a Wellcare Classic plan (only 2.5 stars).
    Again what confuses me is that whether I use CVS or Mail Order the website quotes that all 3 drugs are ZERO dollars under ‘deductible’ AND ‘Initial Coverage Level’
    How can that be ????

    1. Mr. Amiss,

      Thank you for posting your question. Based on our understanding and quick research it is very possible that you could pay $0 for some of your medications using Humana’s mail order program.

      You can reference this webpage: https://www.humana.com/medicare/products-and-services/drug-plan/2016-walmart-rx which has the following high-level information:

      The 2016 Humana Walmart Rx plan offers several ways to save, including:

      Low premium nationwide—$18.40
      No deductible on Tiers 1 and 2
      Mail-order copays as low as $0 on a 90-day supply of Tier 1 and Tier 2 drugs at Humana Pharmacy®1,a mail order pharmacy that offers preferred cost sharing
      In-store copays as low as $1 on certain generic drugs at Walmart, Sam’s Club or Walmart Neighborhood Market pharmacies, retail pharmacies that offer preferred cost sharing
      More than 1,500 generics included on the formulary to help you save money
      Preferred cost sharing is available at over 4,000 Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Walmart Neighborhood Market pharmacies. While you can use other pharmacies in the network, you will likely pay more for drugs at these pharmacies. If you do not live in an area where preferred cost sharing pharmacies are easily accessible, your ability to take advantage of the preferred cost sharing benefit will be limited. Preferred cost-sharing pharmacies may be extremely limited in some areas.

      Looks like a good plan for you. We hope this is helpful information.

      1. Madeline, thank you for your both speedy and informative reply.
        Whether it’s questions on Gap or Drugs, your company always comes through!
        Thanks again, Dave

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