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What You Need to Know About 2021 Medicare Open Enrollment

Alli Thomas

Medicare open enrollment just began in 2021.

It runs from October 15 through December 7. 

During this open enrollment period, you can make as many changes to your coverage as you want. Whatever your election is on December 7 is what will take effect on January 1. 

Your options during open enrollment include:  

  • Switching from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage 
  • Provided you’re enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B AND you live in the Medicare Advantage plan’s area of service 
  • Conversely, switching from Medicare Advantage to original Medicare (as well as Medicare Part D and possibly Medigap) 
  • Switching from your current Medicare Advantage plan to a different one 
  • Switching from your current Medicare Part D plan to a different one
  • Enrolling in Medicare Part D (if you didn’t when you first became eligible for Medicare) – but if you haven’t maintained other acceptable coverage, you may pay a late enrollment penalty. 

Here’s what you can’t do during open enrollment:

  • Enroll in a Medigap plan 
  • Enroll in Medicare if you didn’t do so already when you were first eligible. Instead, you can enroll during the Medicare general enrollment period between January 1 and March 31, for which the coverage will take effect on July 1 

Medicare Advantage has its own open enrollment period that runs from January 1 to March 31. Here’s what you will be able to do during this time:

  • Switch from Medicare Advantage to original Medicare (and enroll in Part D) 
  • Switch to from your current Medicare Advantage plan to a different one 

One key difference about Medicare Advantage open enrollment is that you can only make ONE change.  

Note on Part D Plans  

One last thing—many experts recommend investigating different Part D prescription plans every year, instead of just letting your current plan renew. You can use the Part D plan finder tool here.  

Need Help?  

Medicare can be confusing! If you’re trying to figure out the best choice for you, why not get some help?  

To make request no-cost, no-obligation appointment with one of our advisors, click here. 

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