Medicare Open Enrollment Season Underway: What to Know; What to Do

Participants at a Medicare 101 presentation. Participants at a Medicare 101 presentation.

Medicare open enrollment season is here. For residents age 65+, for people who qualify at a younger age and for caregivers, it’s an important time of year.

For those of us eligible for Medicare, the annual open enrollment season runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, we need to make important decisions about changing or keeping our Medicare Part D drug plan or Medicare Advantage Plan (Part C).

There is a lot to know and it can get confusing.  Here’s some help.

5 Things To Know
  1. Many people have Medigap Plans – or Medicare Supplemental Plans. The open enrollment season does not  allow changes from one Medigap plan to another.
  2. Medicare Part D and Advantage Plans are allowed to change costs, coverage, formulary (covered drugs) and providers each year so it is important to compare your plan’s 2017 coverage with other plans.
  3. Choosing the right plan for your needs can save you hundreds of dollars.
  4. Open Enrollment Season plan changes become effective on Jan. 1, 2017.
  5. Medicare Open Enrollment Season should not be confused with open season for federal worker health plans (Nov. 14 to Dec. 12) or open season for Affordable Care Act enrollees(Nov. 1 to Dec. 15).

Watch video with Medicare expert Bill Vaughan, Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program:

How to Choose a New Plan?
  • Review your Annual Notice of Change that you receive by mail.
  • Compare your plan’s coverage with other plans at
  • You can also review these plans in the Medicare and You 2017 publication.
  • Enroll for a new plan at Picking a new plan cancels your old plan.
  • If you want to stay with your current plan, you don’t have to do anything.
Helpful Resources

Sign Up for a Medicare 101 Presentation


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