Your Guide to Navigate Medicare Open Enrollment This Year

Are you getting bombarded with television commercials and a mountain of medical insurance ads in the mail?

You’re not the only one. It’s that time of year once again: Medicare open registration.

During this approximately two-month duration, Medicare recipients can compare and change their protection. Private insurance provider strongly promote their strategies in hopes that you’ll register for them.

But should you change strategies throughout the Medicare open registration duration? How does the procedure work and what are your alternatives?

In this guide, we break whatever you require to understand. Let’s begin.

What Is Medicare Open Enrollment?

Medicare open registration, likewise called the yearly election duration, ranges from Oct. 15 through Dec. 7 each year.

It’s the time when individuals who are currently registered in Medicare can make modifications to their strategies.

If you’re happy with your Medicare protection, you don’t require to do anything. You don’t require to “renew” your protection.

During open registration, you can:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage or vice versa.
  • Switch to a various Medicare Advantage strategy.
  • Sign up for Part D if you didn’t enlist when you initially ended up being qualified.
  • Change to a various Part D strategy.

Whatever modifications you make will enter into result Jan. 1. So if you make modifications throughout the 2022 open registration duration, your brand-new advantages will start January 2023.

Information about next year’s strategies will be offered beginning in October.

Need a refresher on Medicare? Check out these 7 often asked concerns on how Medicare works.

How Do You Sign Up for a New Plan During Open Enrollment?

There are 2 methods you can enlist in a  brand-new strategy throughout Medicare open registration.

  • Use the online Medicare strategy finder tool.
  • Call Medicare’s helpline at 800-633-4227 (TTY: 877-486-2048) and ask the agent to perform the exact same look for you.

Once you sign up with a brand-new strategy, you’ll instantly be eliminated from your old strategy when your brand-new protection starts.

If you go from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage strategy, ensure to inform your existing Medigap company if you have one. You’ll likewise require to call and cancel your Medicare Part D drug strategy if your brand-new Medicare Advantage strategy offers prescription drug protection.

Use the Medicare Plan Finder to Compare Plans During Open Enrollment

Medicare provides an online strategy finder tool where you can purchase various Medicare Part D prescription drug strategies, Medicare Advantage strategies and Medigap supplement strategies.

You’ll enter your postal code and any monetary assistance you may be getting — such as Medicaid — and the tool will reveal you all the offered strategies in your location.

Click “Plan Details” to see the overall expense of each strategy, including its annual deductible, regular monthly premium (if any) and copays for various services, like medical professional sees, X-rays and ER sees.

If you’re in the marketplace for a brand-new Medicare Part D strategy, you can likewise enter your prescription drug details and choose as much as 5 chosen drug stores for tailored price quotes on your overall out-of-pocket regular monthly drug expenses.

Make sure to properly go into all the medications you take into the tool, consisting of the does, amount and frequency. Leaving out information can lead to inaccurate expense price quotes.

You can evaluate as much as 3 various Part D or Medicare Advantage prepares side-by-side and filter outcomes by star scores and offered advantages.

Make sure to thoroughly evaluate information on any strategy prior to registering.

How to Get Free Help With Medicare Open Enrollment

Have concerns about registering for a strategy? A network of totally free federally financed programs can assist.

The State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP, is a nationwide network of qualified volunteers who offer individually support, therapy and education to Medicare recipients and their households.

Each state utilizes federal grant cash to administer its own SHIP, which can pass various names — like SHINE in Florida or SHIBA in Idaho.

Here’s how a SHIP therapist can assist you throughout the open registration duration:

  • Discuss your medical insurance protection and prescription drug strategy alternatives.
  • See if you receive support programs based upon your earnings.
  • Answer open registration concerns.
  • Help you browse Medicare late registration charges.

You can discover your SHIP by utilizing the online SHIP Regional Locator tool. Or you can call the nationwide network hotline at 1-877-839-2675.

How Do You Find Out What Medicare Coverage You Have?

Not sure if you’re registered in Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage? Can’t keep in mind the name of your Part D strategy company?

You can visit to to learn. is your all-in-one medical insurance website. You can see which Medicare prepares provided by personal insurance provider you’re registered in (such as a Medicare Advantage strategy or a standalone Medicare Part D strategy), together with restricted protection information.

If you don’t currently have a MyMedicare account it’s quick and simple to set one up. You can likewise see if you currently have an account.

How to Create a Account

  1. Go to the Create an Account page at
  2. Type in your Medicare number and your Part A or Part B start date. (You can discover this on your Medicare card or by visiting to your online Social Security account.) Click Next.
  3. Type in your surname, birth date, postal code and e-mail address. Accept the conditions, then click Next.
  4. Create a username and password, then click Create an Account.
  5. Login to your MyMedicare account.

Once you visit, you’ll see details about your Medicare strategy registration and eligibility details. This information can assist notify your choices throughout the fall open registration duration.

It’s totally free to establish your MyMedicare account. The website is administered by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — a part of the federal government.

What Are Your Medicare Coverage Options During Open Enrollment?

Your options throughout the open registration duration depend upon the kind of Medicare protection you have: Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage.

If You Have Original Medicare

Original Medicare includes Medicare Part A (medical facility insurance coverage) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance coverage).

Everyone is registered in Original Medicare when they sign up with the program. You’ll pay a month-to-month premium for Part B protection.

You’ll require to purchase prescription drug protection from a different Part D strategy. You might likewise purchase a Medigap supplement insurance coverage strategy to assist spend for out-of-pocket expenses Original Medicare doesn’t cover.

During open registration you can:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage.
  • Sign up for Part D drug strategy if you didn’t enlist when you initially ended up being qualified.
  • Change to a various Part D strategy.
  • Cancel your Part D protection.

Part D Coverage

Part D prescription drug protection is technically optional. But going without it or registering late can lead to a pricey late registration charge.

Part D prescription drug strategies alter their formularies, or the list of drugs they cover, each year. That’s why professionals advise evaluating your Part D advantages and protection as soon as a year to guarantee you’re getting the very best worth.

The Medicare Plan Finder tool lets you input your particular medications so you can side-by-side compare the overall expense for a Part D drug strategy, consisting of regular monthly premiums, annual deductibles and drug expenses.

You Have a Medicare Advantage Plan

Medicare Part C, much better called Medicare Advantage, is an all-in-one option to Original Medicare. Medicare Advantage strategies are offered by personal insurance provider.

Most Medicare Advantage prepares package in Part D prescription drug protection, permitting you to get all your Medicare advantages in a single strategy.

Many consist of fringe benefits Original Medicare doesn’t cover, like hearing, oral and vision protection.

During open registration you can:

  • Switch back to Original Medicare.
  • Switch to a various Medicare Advantage strategy.

You’ll pay a different premium for your Medicare Advantage strategy in addition to your regular monthly Part B premium. Some Medicare Advantage strategies have $0 premiums for those that certify, however you’ll still owe your Part B premium.

Medicare Advantage strategies likewise limit you to a particular network of physicians.

Make sure to evaluate your copays for a Medicare Advantage strategy, consisting of just how much you’ll pay out-of-pocket for ER sees, ambulance flights and inpatient care.

What You Can’t Do During Open Enrollment

You can’t register for Medicare throughout open registration. Open registration is just for individuals currently registered in Medicare.

If you didn’t register for Medicare when you were very first eligible (throughout your preliminary registration duration), you get another opportunity to do so — however not throughout open registration.

Instead, you can register throughout what’s called the basic registration duration, which ranges from Jan. 1 to March 31 each year.

If you enlist in Medicare for the very first time throughout the basic registration duration, your protection begins July 1.

Open registration likewise isn’t the time to alter your Medigap protection.

The finest time to register for a Medigap strategy is throughout the very first 6 months you’re very first eligible for Medicare around your 65th birthday.

After that six-month window, Medigap insurance provider can reject you protection or charge you much greater rates for a policy.

Should You Switch to a New Plan During Open Enrollment?

Private insurance provider — they administer Medicare Advantage and standalone Part D strategies — modify protection and expenses every year.

They may drop protection for particular prescription drugs, boost or reduce their out-of-pocket optimums or alter their rates structure for various services, like copay quantities at the medical professional’s workplace.

As an outcome, you may be paying substantially more for healthcare simply by sticking to your existing Medicare protection.

Or you might have begun taking a brand-new medication your existing Part D drug strategy doesn’t cover, or you wish to take a look at other Medicare Advantage strategies in your location.

The reality is not searching a minimum of as soon as a year can imply spending too much on Medicare, professionals state.

“In addition to potentially better meeting their health care needs, reviewing plans annually can help save money because plan costs fluctuate regularly,” stated Rebecca Kinney, director of the Office of Healthcare Information and Counseling for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living.

If there are modifications to a strategy’s advantages or protection, the company is needed to send you a letter called the Annual Notice of Change in September.

The notification discusses what modifications to premiums, deductibles, copays and protection the strategy will make next year.

If you’re happy with your Medicare protection and absolutely nothing is altering, then stick to your existing strategy.

If you don’t make any modifications throughout open registration, your existing protection merely rolls over into the next year.

But if modifications are on the horizon, or you seem like you’re paying excessive for your protection, searching is a clever choice.

Rachel Christian is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance and a senior author for The Penny Hoarder.


A news media journalist always on the go, I've been published in major publications including VICE, The Atlantic, and TIME.

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