Tips for Navigating Medicare Open Enrollment

Medicare’s annual open enrollment period is right around the corner. It starts October 15th and extends through December 7th. Medicare beneficiaries should take advantage of this opportunity to evaluate their current coverage and decide if they need to make any changes for the up coming year.

1. Find out what changes are coming for your existing plan.

Medicare plans can and do change from year to year. You will receive an ANOC (Annual Notice of Change) from your carrier each fall around September. This includes any potential changes to coverage, costs, or service area that would take effect in January. Carefully review this to decide whether any of these changes would have significant impact on you and the coverage you receiving. If you have any questions or need help understand this you should contact your agent to help you review.

2. Is Your Existing Plan Still a good Match for your medical needs.

Has your health changed or do you have any anticipated needs for the up coming year? Have you added or dropped any medications? If so, you should review to make sure the plan you currently have still gives you the best deal overall. You can use the Medicare plan finder to help compare all plans in your area and drug costs. You can also switch from Original Medicare parts A and B to a Medicare Advantage plan or vice versa.

3. Know your options.

Open enrollment allows you to freely make changes with Medicare Advantage plans and Part D plans. In general you cannot be denied coverage or even charged a higher premium due to your age or pre-esixitng conditions on these plans (There can be exceptions for those with ERSD).

However, you may not be able to make changes to a Medicare Supplement policy as easy. Once you are outside of your initial enrollment period for medicare, (you can red more about that here) medicare supplement insurer may be permitted to charge higher rates or possibly deny coverage to an individual based off health conditions.

4. Don’t rush your decision.

Once open enrollment starts, any changes made will not take effect until January 1st. Use this time to understand how you current coverage stacks up to other options for the new year. This is the perfect opportunity to utilize an independent agent if you haven’t already done so. If you would like to speak with me and simply compare your current coverage you can reach me at 800-360-1006 or via email at


Michael Schenk



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