What you need to know
Medicare plans can change each year—and so can your healthcare needs. Here’s some information to help you prepare for Medicare Open Enrollment and get the most out of your Medicare coverage in 2024.
- If you’re already enrolled in Medicare, you can make changes to your plan during open enrollment.
- Medicare Open Enrollment for 2024 plans starts Oct. 15, 2023, and ends on Dec. 7, 2023.
- Changes you make during 2023 open enrollment go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
When is the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?
Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, known as the “Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plan annual election period,” “annual enrollment period” or “AEP,” takes place this year from Oct. 15, 2023, through Dec. 7, 2023. Medicare coverage changes go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, if the plan gets your request by Dec. 7, 2023. This is the primary time when people with Medicare can choose a plan, but there are other times during the year that may be called “open enrollment” or “special enrollment” periods when a person can enroll in a plan, which are explained in more detail below.1
Explore Medicare plans: What can you do during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period?
People already enrolled in Medicare can make changes to their Medicare plan coverage, such as:1
- Switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan (or vice versa)
- Switching to a Medicare Advantage plan with or without prescription drug coverage
- Switching from 1 Medicare Advantage plan to another
- Joining, switching or leaving a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan
- Switching to a new private insurer
What should I consider during Medicare’s Open Enrollment?
When shopping Medicare plans during open enrollment, some coverage details to consider include:
- Out-of-pocket costs—premiums, deductibles, copayments and any other payments not covered by Medicare
- Prescription drug coverage—eligibility requirements, medication coverage and costs, generic vs. brand name, etc.
- Healthcare needs—any upcoming surgeries or doctor appointments you may have in the coming year
- Travel plans—Original Medicare typically doesn’t cover services overseas, so if you plan on traveling out of the country, you might consider buying a supplemental insurance plan that will cover you in case of an emergency
What are the different parts of Medicare available during open enrollment?
All 4 parts of Medicare are available during the Open Enrollment Period.
- Original Medicare (Parts A and B) – Original Medicare is provided by the Federal government and comes in 2 parts—Part A and Part B:
- Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. It has no premium cost if you’ve paid payroll taxes for at least 10 years.
- Medicare Part B is medical insurance. It requires you to pay premiums, copays and deductibles, like private insurance companies. In 2023, the Part B premium is $164.90 or higher, depending on your income.
However, Original Medicare doesn’t cover everything. If you need prescription drugs or routine vision, dental or hearing care, you may want to consider additional coverage options.
- Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) and Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage
Beyond Original Medicare, there is further coverage through Parts C and D:
- Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) is offered by private insurers and often combines Parts A, B and D in 1 plan.
- Medicare Part D is prescription drug coverage. It is an optional prescription drug plan offered through private companies.
Many Medicare Advantage plans include coverage for prescriptions and may offer dental, vision and hearing benefits. You may need to pay a monthly premium in addition to the Part B premium, but it may be worth it based on your needs.