Medicare Open Enrollment Period

Medicare’s annual Open Enrollment Period for 2020 is October 15th to December 7th. Open Enrollment is the only time of year that you are able to make changes to your Medicare coverage, such as Medicare Advantage, Part C or Part D plans. While you may add, switch, or drop one of these plans, you may not enroll in Part A or Part B plans for the first time during the Open Enrollment Period.

During the Open Enrollment Period, you can make the following changes:

  • Those enrolled in Medicare Parts A or B may join or drop a Part D plan
  • Those enrolled in Original Medicare (Parts A & B) may switch to a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Those with Medicare Advantage may switch back to Original Medicare (Parts A & B)
  • Those with Medicare Advantage may switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan
  • Those enrolled in a Part D plan can switch to a new Part D plan


Medicare’s Options

  • Part A: covers hospital stays, hospice, nursing, and post-hospital care
  • Part B: covers doctor visits, diagnostic screenings and tests, medical care equipment, ambulance and other outpatient services
  • Part C: Medicare Advantage, covers Parts A and B plus extra benefits
  • Part D: covers prescription drugs


Do I Need to Change Plans?

During the Open Enrollment Period, you should review your current Medicare coverage and reevaluate what is most important to you. Each year, insurance companies will make changes to plans that reflect in changes to deductibles, pharmacy costs, and provider networks. If you are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, you should receive an Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and/or Evidence of Coverage (EOC) describing any changes in the plan’s costs or benefits for the upcoming year. If you are dissatisfied with your coverage, you should review other plans that may better meet your needs. Any changes you make during the Fall Open Enrollment Period will take effect starting January 1, 2021.


I’m About to Turn 65, What Should I Do?

There is an Initial Enrollment Period for individuals turning 65 that begins 3 months before your 65th birthday and lasts for 7 months. If you currently receive Social Security benefits, you do not need to do anything during this period since you will automatically be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B the month you turn 65 and will be sent a Medicare card. If you keep the card, you keep Part B and will pay Part B premiums. However, if you do not receive Social Security benefits, you will need to enroll in Medicare through the Social Security Administration office at 800-772-1213 or click here. You should do so as early as possible in order to ensure your coverage will begin once you turn 65.


How to Carefully Enroll in a New Plan

Before enrolling in a new plan, make sure you have a full understanding of which once is best for you. It’s possible to enroll in a new plan directly through Medicare. Keep notes on everything you discuss with your Medicare representative, including the date, outcome, and next steps. Once you decide on a new plan that fits your needs, be sure to inform your physician and other health care providers of your new coverage.

This process can be time consuming, confusing and stressful. If you need assistance during this step, our Benchmark Planning Senior Care experts are ready to discuss the available options. Medicare is not one size fits all, determining the best options with an expert can help ensure you attain the best possible protection for you.