Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, also known as the Annual Election Period, you can make changes to your current Medicare coverage. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, or AEP, runs from October 15th to December 7th every year.

What is the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period for 2022?

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period will occur between October 15th and December 7th for a January 1st, 2022 effective date.

What Changes Are Allowed During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?

  • Switch from Medicare Advantage back to Original Medicare
  • Disenroll from Original Medicare and enroll in Medicare Advantage
  • Change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another
  • Sign up for a Part D prescription drug plan
  • Change from one Part D prescription plan to another
  • Cancel your prescription drug coverage

Any changes you make during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period will take effect on January 1st of the following year.

Why Change Your Medicare Coverage During the Annual Enrollment Period Window?

Medicare Advantage and Part D benefits change each year. This means your premiums can increase and your benefits may change. Some common reasons you may want to change your coverage is due to your premiums increasing, the Advantage plan no longer has your doctor in the network of your plan, or the drug formulary drops your medication off the list of covered drugs.

You’ll receive an Annual Notice of Change in September from your carrier. The ANoC will explain any changes happening to your current policy that will take effect the following year.

If you’re unhappy with the changes shown in your ANoC, you can change your coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period.

What Should I Consider When Choosing Medicare Coverage Annually?

  • Did my monthly premiums increase?
  • Are my medications still listed on my drug formulary?
  • What are my predicted annual medical costs going to be?
  • Is my doctor still in my plan’s network of providers?
  • Do I plan on traveling this year?
  • What ancillary benefits do I have?
  • What are my plan ratings?

Did my monthly premiums increase?

Your ANoC explains how your current coverage will change the following year—including whether you’ll see an increase or not in your monthly premiums. Look at the premium for your current plan and compare it with the premium amount shown on your ANoC. A significant increase is a good sign it may be time to shop around for a new plan.

Are my medications still listed on my drug formulary?

A new year can also bring changes to your drug formulary, the pricing tiers that medications are placed in, or the copays required for various types of prescriptions. Find out whether your prescription plan will cover your current medications in the upcoming year, and how much you’ll pay for them. If you take expensive medications, it’s a good idea to explore other prescription plans available in your area to see if they have lower copays.

What are my predicted annual medical costs going to be?

Make a list of the doctor visits and procedures you expect for next year. Then estimate what you will pay for them out of pocket with your current Medicare coverage. Add in a years’ worth of premiums and you’ll have a good estimate of what your healthcare will cost you next year.

Is my doctor still in my plan’s network of providers?

A new year can also bring changes to your Medicare Advantage plan’s network of doctors. Confirm that your current providers will still be in your plan’s network for the upcoming year. If they aren’t, you will have to change plans or providers or pay much higher out-of-pocket costs to stay with the same doctors and the same plan.

Do I plan on traveling anywhere this year?

If you travel frequently, you may delay getting care until you are at your primary home. Make sure your plan has providers and pharmacies near where you live. If you live in two places or plan to travel out of state, consider a plan with a nationwide network, or go with Original Medicare, which does not have provider networks.

Does my coverage include vision, dental and hearing benefits?

Medicare doesn’t cover routine dental, vision, and hearing services, but some Medicare Advantage plans do. You can also buy dental, vision, and hearing coverage separately. Consider your needs and the available coverage as part of your overall evaluation of Medicare plans.

What are my current plan ratings?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a star rating system to help consumers compare Medicare plans. Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans receive an overall star rating of one to five stars—with five being the best—on factors such as customer service, member experience, and member complaints. Medicare Advantage plans are also rated on preventative care to help people stay healthy, and management of chronic conditions. If your current plan gets low marks, you may be happier with another option.

Having a checklist makes it easier when the time comes to sign up or change plans. There are many different enrollment periods when it comes to Medicare. Each is just as confusing as the other. It’s important to understand what you can and cannot do during each enrollment window. Otherwise, you could make a move that could negatively impact your Medicare benefits forever.

Your Medicare Annual Enrollment Period Checklist

  1. Make sure you are eligible to make coverage changes
  2. Decide if your current coverage is still what you want
  3. Contact a licensed agent to enroll before December 7th

Step 1: Make sure you are eligible to make coverage changes

If you’re newly eligible for Medicare, or delayed coverage for one reason or another, and are not yet signed up for Part A and Part B, this is NOT the enrollment period for you. You won’t be eligible to make changes at this time unless you’re within your Initial Enrollment Period or are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. You’ll need to wait until the General Enrollment Period to enroll in Original Medicare.

Step 2: Decide if your current coverage is what you want

We encourage you to take a deeper look into the coverage you currently have. Think about your health situation, and what you are currently getting the most use out of. Then, try to figure out how you may be able to supplement or reduce your total out-of-pocket costs.

Step 3: Contact an agent to compare plans for the upcoming year

This may be considered one of the most important steps. Oftentimes, you may be able to find a lower premium for the same benefits. Or, you may be able to find a plan with more benefits for the same monthly premium you’re paying now. Just like you would compare your car insurance premiums annually, or even semi-annually, you want to do the same with your Medicare coverage. More than likely, there’s an opportunity to save money somewhere, and every penny counts.


Do my Medigap plan benefits change during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?
No, your Medigap benefits do not change like Part D and Medicare Advantage plans do. Your Medigap plan will cover the same benefits from year to year. What may change is your premiums. Rate increases do happen annually, on the anniversary date of your policy. Your carrier sends out a letter the month before your anniversary date that informs you of any premium increases. If you want to compare the same plan with other carriers to see if another carrier offers the same benefits at a lower premium, we can help.
Can I get a Medigap plan if I switch from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare?
Yes, you’ll have “Trial Rights” to purchase a Medigap plan if you cancel your Medicare Advantage plan and switch back to Original Medicare within 12 months of joining Medicare Advantage.
When does the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period start?
When does the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period end?
The fall Medicare Annual Enrollment Period ends December 7th.
What is the Annual Coordinated Enrollment Period?
The Annual Coordinated Enrollment Period, or ACEP, is another name for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period or Annual Election Period. To add even more confusion, the Annual Enrollment Period is also commonly referred to as the Fall Open Enrollment Period.
What is the difference between the Medicare Open Enrollment Period and the Annual Enrollment Period?
That depends on the context used when talking about the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. OEP can refer to many different enrollment windows with Medicare. However, for the most part, when someone is talking about the OEP they are referring to the Annual Enrollment Period.

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

Our agents are here to help you understand the dos and don'ts during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Our services are 100% free to you. Don't end up enrolling in a plan you didn't want, and end up stuck with it under the next AEP. Give us a call today, or complete our online rate form to have one of our agents lookup rates on all Medicare plans available in your area now.

Enter Zipcode

Enter Zipcode

Enter your zip code to pull plan options available in your area.

Compare Plans

Compare Plans

Select which Medicare plans you would like to compare in your area.

Get Quote

Get Quote

Compare rates side by side with plans & carriers available in your area.

Jagger Esch

Jagger Esch is the Medicare expert for MedicareFAQ and the founder, president, and CEO of Elite Insurance Partners and 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

  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.


    Your email address will not be published.