Medicare Open Enrollment: It's Time to Review Your Coverage

During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period that runs from October 15 through December 7, you can make changes to your Medicare coverage that will be effective on January 1, 2021. If you're satisfied with your current coverage, you don't need to make changes, but it's a good idea to review your options.

During Open Enrollment, you can:

  • Change from Original Medicare (Part A hospital insurance and Part B medical insurance) to a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C), or vice versa
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D), switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug plan to another, or drop prescription drug coverage

Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private companies approved by Medicare. They cover all Original Medicare services, and often include Part D coverage and extra benefits.

Review any information you receive from your current Medicare plan. For example, in the fall, your plan will send you an Annual Notice of Change that lists changes to your plan's coverage, costs, or service area that will take effect in January. You will also receive a comprehensive Evidence of Coverage document that includes detailed information on the plan's benefits, how the plan works, and your rights and responsibilities.

The official government handbook, Medicare & You, which is available electronically or through the mail, also contains information about Medicare that may help you determine whether your current coverage is appropriate.

As you review your coverage, here are a few points to consider:

  • What were your health-care costs during the past year, and what did you spend the most on?
  • What services do you need and which health-care providers and pharmacies do you visit?
  • How does the cost of your current coverage compare to other options? Consider premiums, deductibles, and other out-of-pocket costs such as copayments or coinsurance; are any of these costs changing?

If you're interested in a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Prescription Drug plan, you can use the Medicare Plan Finder at to see which plans are available in your area and check their overall quality rating. To get personalized information, you can log in or create an account (if you have a Medicare Number) to compare your plan to others, and see prescription drug costs.

If you have questions about Medicare, call 1-800-MEDICARE or visit the Medicare website. Your State Health Insurance Assistance Program can also help you sort through your options.

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