Medicare open enrollment is the time of year when you can make important changes to your Medicare coverage.
Medicare open enrollment for 2020 goes from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2019.
During this open enrollment period, you can make changes to your Medicare health and drug coverage that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.
What kind of changes can you make to your Medicare plans between these dates? You’ll learn about that here. You’ll also find answers to questions like:
The 2020 Medicare annual election period, or AEP, also is from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2019.
There’s a good reason for the overlap in dates: the annual election period for Medicare and Medicare open enrollment are the same thing.
If you’re wondering, aren’t there other Medicare enrollment periods with different deadlines? There are. Besides the annual election period, you’ve got the:
Here’s when these Medicare enrollment periods happen and what you can do during them.
The initial enrollment period, or IEP, is when you first become eligible for Medicare coverage. It’s a seven-month window around your 65th birthday. During this time, you can sign up for Original Medicare, or Medicare Part A and Part B.
The general enrollment period is for people who didn’t sign up for Medicare Parts A or B during their IEP and who aren’t eligible for a special enrollment period. It goes from Jan. 1 to March 31 every year — not just for 2020.
You only qualify for a Medicare special enrollment period if you missed your IEP because you were still covered by a group health plan through your own or your spouse's job (or through a family member's job, if you have a disability). You can sign up for Original Medicare coverage within this eight-month window, which starts:
During Medicare open enrollment, you can review your existing coverage and make changes to it. Specifically, you can switch from:
You also can do the following during the Medicare open enrollment period in 2020 (or in any year):
Actually, there are two open enrollment periods that allow you to make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan for 2020.
From Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2019, you can change from:
You also can switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another during this enrollment window.
And from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2020, you can switch from:
One change you can’t make during this open enrollment period is to go from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage coverage.
Yes, there is an open enrollment period for Medicare Part D coverage that runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 every year. Between those dates, you can:
There are no yearly open enrollment periods or deadlines for Medicare Supplement plans like there are for other kinds of Medicare coverage.
Instead, you can buy or change MedSup or Medigap policies anytime you want. Most people do so during a six-month Medigap open enrollment period, though. This period starts the same month you enroll in Medicare Part B.
If you wait until after your Medigap open enrollment period to buy or change this type of coverage, you may not be able to find an insurance company that will sell it to you. And even if you do, you might pay a lot more for it.
If you miss the Medicare open enrollment period for 2020, you might still be able to make changes to your coverage through a special enrollment period.
A few of the situations that could make you eligible for a Medicare special enrollment period:
If you don’t qualify for a special enrollment period, you’ll need to wait for the next general enrollment or open enrollment period to make changes to your Medicare plan.
You don’t have to enroll in Medicare every year. You also don’t have to renew your Medicare plan each year.
This is true if you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, as well as if you have Medicare Advantage, Medigap or Part D coverage.
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