Medicare Open Enrollment: Do I Need to Do Anything if I Already Have Medicare?
What to consider come Open Enrollment if you already have Medicare.
Every year, the Medicare Open Enrollment Period swings around on October 15 and runs until December 7.
This is a period when any Medicare beneficiary, long-standing or brand new, can reassess their Medicare coverage and make certain changes should they choose.
If you have traditional Medicare, also known as Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), there’s no need to make a change if you’re content with your current coverage.
However, if you’re interested in taking a look at your options, there are a few available to you during this period.
Here, we’ll cover what actions you can take as an Original Medicare beneficiary during the Open Enrollment Period.
Original Medicare Beneficiary Options During Open Enrollment
If you have Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), there are three courses of action available to you during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period.
1. Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan.
You can switch from your Original Medicare coverage to a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare beneficiaries may choose to do this as a way of adding additional coverage to their plan.
Many Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug coverage, as well as additional benefits not offered by Original Medicare alone. These benefits vary depending on the plan you choose.
2. Switch from one Part D plan to a different Part D plan.
If you already have a Medicare Part D plan along with your Part A and/or Part B coverage, you can switch to a new Part D plan.
Reviewing your drug plan each year is smart practice. It’s not uncommon for a stand-alone drug plan to make rule changes or switch the medications it covers.
If you discover that your Part D plan is changing and there is a different plan that better meets your needs, you can switch between Part D plans during this period.
3. Sign up for a Part D plan.
Also, if you never signed up for a Part D plan, you can do so during this period. If you would like to enroll in a Part D plan you must have either Part A and/or Part B coverage.
Additionally, note that it’s possible a Part D late enrollment penalty will apply in this scenario.
To learn about when the Part D late enrollment penalty applies and how it affects premium cost, you can read our guide here.
Parting Thoughts: Review Your Drug Coverage Every Year
If you have a stand-alone drug plan with your Medicare coverage, or if you have a Medicare Advantage plan, it’s always a good idea to review your coverage for the upcoming year.
It’s possible for these plans to make updates or changes that will impact which drugs are covered starting on January 1 of the following year.
Remember, even if you’re happy with your current plan and all of the medications you require are currently covered, don’t make the assumption that this will be the case in the following year.
Taking some time in the days leading up to the Open Enrollment Period is a great way to ensure you are not faced with any surprises that negatively impact your prescription costs or coverage.
It will also prepare you in the event that you would like to switch plans or add additional coverage during this period.