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Medicare Annual Enrollment Period 2022


The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, also known as the Annual Election Period, allows you to change your existing Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage for the following year. Each fall during the Annual Enrollment Period, anyone with Medicare coverage can benefit from this enrollment period.

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Below, we review the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, when it happens, how it works, and how to best utilize the enrollment period.

When is the Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare?

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period occurs each year from October 15 to December 7. You can change your Medicare elections for the upcoming year during this enrollment period.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is an opportunity to improve your Medicare elections to fit your lifestyle, healthcare needs, and budget. If you are unhappy with the changes you have made in the past or with your current plan, the Annual Enrollment Period is the time to fix those issues for the following year.

What Changes Can I Make During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?

During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, you can:

  • Switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare
  • Enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Enroll in a Medicare Part D plan
  • Change from one Medicare Part D plan to another
  • Disenroll from a Medicare Part D plan

Any changes you make during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period timeframe will go into effect on January 1.

If you plan to switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare and wish to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan, you can do so during this time. You can also pick up a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan to replace your coverage through your MAPD once you switch to Original Medicare.

Remember you must pass underwriting health questions to enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan. So, it is crucial to work with an agent to enroll in the right policy based on your healthcare needs to avoid a lapse in coverage.

Comparing Prescription Drug Plans During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

It is essential to review and compare Medicare Part D prescription drug plans each year during the Medicare Annual Enrollment period due to annual changes in the plans. Like Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Part D benefits also do not stay consistent year after year, and it is crucial to review your plan changes. This way, you can compare other policy options.

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Common reasons you may want to switch drug plans are:

  • Changes in premium
  • Changes in the drug formulary
  • Change in preferred pharmacy

Any above changes could significantly affect how you use your Medicare Part D plan. This means that a better plan may be available. However, you may not know these changes unless you review and compare your plan.

Each year, the company that manages your Medicare Part D plan must send you an Annual Notice of Change document in September. This document will explain any changes to your current policy that will take effect the following year. Reading and understanding these changes is a must, as they directly affect your coverage.

Comparing Medicare Advantage Plans During the Annual Enrollment Period

Like Medicare Part D, your Medicare Advantage plan will see changes in networks, coverage, and out-of-pocket costs each year. When you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, your plan will experience changes yearly, so it is wise to keep up to date.

The best way to understand your plan changes is by reviewing the Annual Notice of Change. However, another plan may have made changes that exceed the benefits of your current policy, so you and your agent should review all available plans to ensure you get the best coverage.

Can I Switch to Medicare Supplement During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?

You can enroll in a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) plan at any time. However, you cannot have Medicare Advantage and Medicare Supplement coverage at the same time.

Therefore, you must have a valid disenrollment period for your Medicare Advantage plan before picking up Medigap coverage. Fortunately, the Annual Enrollment Period is a valid disenrollment period for Medicare Advantage.

When you switch to a Medicare Supplement plan, you must undergo medical underwriting. A carrier can deny issuing you a Medicare Supplement policy based on your pre-existing conditions. If you believe you may not qualify for a Medicare Supplement plan, it is essential to have a Medicare Advantage plan in mind to avoid a lapse in coverage.

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Often, licensed agents can help you find a plan with a carrier that will accept your pre-existing condition. However, that is not always the case with more severe health conditions.

Your Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Checklist

It is crucial to have a plan when approaching the Annual Enrollment Period. It is never too early to prepare. If you wait too long, contacting an agent may be difficult, and you may lose your chance to change plans.

To have a successful Annual Enrollment Period, you should:

1. Make sure you are eligible to make coverage changes

If you are newly eligible for Medicare or delayed coverage for any reason and do not yet have Medicare Part A and Part B, this is NOT the enrollment period for you. You will not be eligible to make changes during this enrollment period unless you are within your Initial Enrollment period or are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. In this case, you will need to wait until the General Enrollment Period.

2. Decide if your current coverage is still best for you

When deciding on your coverage during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, you must take a deeper look at your current coverage and determine if there are any changes you would like to make. If you can find a plan with these changes, it may be best to enroll in this new plan. However, no changes are necessary if your current plan is still the best for you.

3. Contact a licensed Medicare agent before December 7 to enroll

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The most critical step of the process is connecting with a licensed Medicare insurance agent specializing in the plans you want to enroll in. Often, an agent may be able to help you find plans that you were not aware of, help you save money, or recommend plans with more benefits. Working with an agent is crucial to ensuring you are on the best plan for your needs.

FAQs

What is the difference between the Medicare Open Enrollment Period and the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
Many people refer to the Medicare Annual Enrollment period as the Open Enrollment Period. So, essentially, the two are the same enrollment period.
Is there an Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Supplement plans?
No, there is not an Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Supplement plans. You can enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan any time as long as you can pass medical underwriting and have a valid window to disenroll from your Medicare Advantage plan, should you have one.
What happens if I do not like the Medicare Advantage plan I sign up for during the Annual Enrollment Period?
Suppose you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Enrollment Period. In that case, you will have the chance to change your plan from January 1 to March 31 during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. You can either switch back to Original Medicare or enroll in a new Medicare Advantage plan. If you switched from a Medicare Supplement plan to a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time, you would have a trial right for 12 months that allows you to switch back to your Medicare Supplement plan.
Do Medigap Plan Benefits change annually?
No, Medigap plan benefits remain the same each year. The only annual changes Medigap plans undergo are changes in premium.

How to Sign Up for Medicare During the Annual Enrollment Period for 2022

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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 July 2022.
    https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Reach-Out/Find-tools-to-help-you-help-others/Medicare-Open-Enrollment#:~:text=When's%20the%20Medicare%20Open%20Enrollment,is%20October%2015%20%2D%20December%207.
  2. Medicare Open Enrollment, Medicare. Accessed July 2022.
    https://www.medicare.gov/Pubs/pdf/11220-Medicare-Yearly-Review.pdf

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.

8 thoughts on “Medicare Annual Enrollment Period 2022

  1. I am 68 & still working full time & have medicare part A, I pay no premium at this time.
    It would be helpful if you had a check list we fill out for basic questions, About what we have now & need to have to be covered for the next year. I called medicare & they said i do not need anything else, Because I am working full time & have not retired yet.

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