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Medicare Open Enrollment Period 2022


Medicare Open Enrollment Periods allow you to change your current Medicare coverage. The most anticipated Medicare Open Enrollment Period is the Annual Enrollment Period. This enrollment period happens each fall and allows you to make changes to your Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D plans.

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Below, we explain what you can and cannot do during Medicare Open Enrollment, review the differences between each Open Enrollment Period, and answer some common questions we get from beneficiaries.

When is Open Enrollment for Medicare?

There are three Open Enrollment Periods for Medicare. The Annual Enrollment Period, the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period, and your Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period. Each enrollment period happens at different times, and not everyone on Medicare may utilize each.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is also known as the fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Each year, this enrollment period begins on October 15 and ends on December 7.

The fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period pertains to Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Part D prescription drug plans. Within this window, you can make changes to your Medicare Advantage plan by enrolling in a new plan or dropping Medicare Advantage altogether and returning to Original Medicare. Additionally, you may change your Medicare Part D plan during this time to enroll in a plan with benefits that better meet your budget or healthcare needs.

In addition to the Annual Enrollment Period, Medicare plans have their own Open Enrollment Periods. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period happens annually from January 1 to March 31. Those with Medicare Advantage coverage can do the following

  • Switch Medicare Advantage plans (only allowed one change)
  • Drop Medicare Advantage and return to Original Medicare (in which case, you may also enroll in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage)

As this enrollment period is only for people who already have Medicare Advantage, you cannot enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during this time.

Lastly, the Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period is unique to each beneficiary. Your Medigap Open Enrollment Period is once-in-a-lifetime for most Medicare enrollees.

This enrollment period happens when you first enroll in Original Medicare. Once you enroll in Medicare Part A and Part B, you will get a six-month Open Enrollment Period to sign up for the Medicare Supplement plan of your choice without answering underwriting health questions. Thus, carriers cannot deny you coverage due to pre-existing conditions during your Medigap Open Enrollment Period.

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Why Should I Use the Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period?

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan or a Medicare Part D policy, your benefits and costs can change yearly.

The Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period (Annual Enrollment Period) allows you to change your existing coverage if you are not pleased with those changes. When changing a Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, you will never need to answer underwriting health questions. Therefore, carriers cannot deny you a policy based on your health.

During the Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period, you can make the following changes for the upcoming year.:

  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare
  • Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time
  • Change from one Medicare Part D plan to another
  • Enroll in a Medicare Part D plan
  • Drop Medicare Part D

You can make multiple changes, but the last change you make will go into effect on January 1.

How Will I Know if My Medicare Benefits are Changing Next Year?

In September, you should receive a letter from your Medicare Advantage or Part D carrier containing the Annual Notice of Change document. The Annual Notice of Change will inform you if your premium, copays, pharmacy networks, or drug formulary is changing in the upcoming year.

After reviewing the document, you may decide to stay on your current plan or search for a new policy that fits your needs better. Even if your current plan does not make drastic changes, it is helpful to review other options to ensure you are still on the best coverage for your needs.

Who Can Use the Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Window?

Anyone with Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part D may make changes during the Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period.

However, if you do not yet have Medicare Part A or Part B, this is not your enrollment period. Once your Initial Enrollment Period passes, you will need to wait until the General Enrollment Period to apply for Original Medicare. Then, you may use the Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period the following year to make plan changes.

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Remember, there is no requirement for you to make changes to your plan each year. If you take no action during the Fall Open Enrollment Period, you will continue with the same plan selections from the previous year.

What Changes Can You Make During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?

During the Fall Open Enrollment Period, you can make several changes to your Medicare coverage for the upcoming year. Most of these changes include leaving or switching Medicare Advantage plans or Medicare Part D plans.

Reasons People Leave or Change Medicare Advantage Plans

  • Unhappy with the plan changes their Annual Notice of Change outlines
  • An increasing monthly premium
  • Doctor(s) no longer within the plan’s network
  • Tired of copays at doctor visits
  • Need more comprehensive coverage (attainable through a Medigap plan)

Reasons People Leave or Switch Medicare Part D Plans

  • Medications moved to a different tier
  • Dropping a drug completely
  • An increasing monthly premium
  • Increasing annual deductible
  • A new plan option with more value

How to Get Help During the Fall Medicare Open Enrollment Period

Whether you wish to enroll in or make changes to Medicare Advantage, Medicare Part D, or Medigap coverage, we can compare all your options side-by-side to find the best fit for your health and budget needs.

Our goal at MedicareFAQ is to ensure our clients have the information they need about their Medicare options. Medicare frequently changes, so it is crucial to keep up-to-date with the latest information. We ensure our clients always have the most comprehensive coverage at an affordable price.

If you run into any obstacles with your coverage, we're by your side to help you overcome them. Give us a call today or complete our online rate form to see what Medicare plans are available in your area today.

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Sources:

MedicareFAQ is dedicated to providing you with authentic and trustworthy Medicare information. We have strict sourcing guidelines and work diligently to serve our readers with accurate and up-to-date content.

  1. Medicare Open Enrollment, CMS. Accessed August 2022.
    https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Reach-Out/Find-tools-to-help-you-help-others/Medicare-Open-Enrollment
  2. Medicare Benefits, SSA. Accessed August 2022.
    https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/medicare/
  3. Medicare Open Enrollment, KFF. Accessed August 2022.
    https://www.kff.org/faqs/medicare-open-enrollment-faqs/?view=1

Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and MedicareFAQ.com. Since the inception of his first company in 2012, he has been dedicated to helping those eligible for Medicare by providing them with resources to educate themselves on all their Medicare options. He is featured in many publications as well as writes regularly for other expert columns regarding Medicare.

4 thoughts on “Medicare Open Enrollment Period 2022

  1. I am turning 65 in December this year, my husband is still working and I will be covered by his health care. Will I have trouble getting part B or anything supplemental insurances when he actually retires too (he’s think of retiring next year)

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