Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare

Tip – It’s that time of year! Understand your options and plan choices!

The annual Medicare Open Enrollment period is upon us! During open enrollment, individuals can make changes to their Medicare Part D prescription drug plans and change or enroll in Medicare Advantage plans.

This annual open enrollment period lasts from October 15th to December 7th and any changes you make will be reflected starting in January 2024. For example, if you decide to change your prescription drug plan during open enrollment, the new plan will be effective on January 1, 2024.

Why might you want to make a change to your prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan? Some people choose to change plans if they have high prescription drug costs with prescriptions that are not covered under their current Part D plan’s formulary (the plan’s list of covered drugs). Some people also may change plans if they are paying a high monthly premium for their plan but have few medications and may be able to enroll in a plan with a lower monthly premium. Still others may change a Medicare Advantage plan if they have been dissatisfied with their current plan.

What if you are satisfied with your current coverage? If you are already enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription plan or a Medicare Advantage plan and you are satisfied with your coverage, you do not need to do anything during open enrollment. Your coverage will automatically enroll for the coming year. Just remember, many plans will make changes to their coverage each year, so it is still a good idea to review your plan information.

Individuals who have a Medigap plan where Medicare pays 80% of their hospital and doctor costs and the Medigap policy pays the additional 20% of the costs, can make changes to their plan or change their insurance carrier under the Birthday Rule. The Birthday Rule provides that individuals with a Medigap policy may make changes to their policy for 63 days from the date of their Birthday.

Sometimes plans will discontinue service in your area and you may receive a non-renewal notice from the plan. If this occurs, or if you simply want to review your options, contact your local SHIBA office (1-800-247-4422 – SHIBA Medicare Helpline), your insurance agent, or go online to to review your plan options and choose a different plan that meets your needs.

View our “Senior’s Guide to a Well-Planned Future” on our website! Packer Elder Care Law – with you for life!

Tom Packer is an Elder Law Attorney serving all Southeast Idaho. As part of his law practice, Tom offers Life Care Planning to deal with the challenges created by long-term illness, disability and incapacity. If you have a question about a Senior’s legal, financial or healthcare needs, please call us.

September 2023