Your Guide to Medicare Open Enrollment for 2023
t’s that time again. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is here, when millions of Americans decide which coverage options make the most sense for them going into the year ahead. If you’re among those currently enrolled or eligible for Medicare, this is a great time to review your health plan and decide what’s working and what can be improved for 2023.
Stay with us as we take a look at what you need to know about the annual open enrollment period—from deadlines to important changes occurring in 2023 and how to change your coverage.
Medicare Parts and Options: Understanding The Basics
In order to find the health care plan that’s right for you, it’s important to understand the different Medicare options—and we’ve got a simple breakdown for you. Basic Medicare provides four types of coverage: Parts A, B, C, and D. Each part covers something different and comes with different costs. Here’s how it works:
Original Medicare covers inpatient hospital and skilled nursing services (part A) and hospitalization, doctor visits, outpatient services and some preventative care (part B). However, Original Medicare (Parts A and B) does not cover all your health care expenses. That’s why many retirees choose to add more coverage, such as a Medicare Advantage plan—also known as part C. Medicare Advantage plans provide everything that Original Medicare (parts A and B) covers, as well as prescription drugs (part D). A Medicare Advantage plan may also include extra benefits not covered by Medicare, such as dental care, eye exams and glasses, and hearing aids.
What is Medicare Open Enrollment?
Medicare open enrollment (OEP) is also known as the annual election period (AEP) or annual coordinated election period. It’s the period of time each year—from October 15 through December 7—when you can sign up for Medicare coverage or make changes to your health plan and prescription drug coverage for the upcoming year.
Your coverage, and any new changes to that coverage, will go into effect January 1 and will continue through December 31. However, if you’re happy with your current coverage and your plan is being offered again, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment. In that case, your coverage will automatically roll over into 2023.
Still, it’s a good time to see what other options are now available. Because health insurance companies expand their coverage each year, there may be a better plan for you. Here are some considerations that can help:
- Have your healthcare needs changed?
- Do you have a chronic illness or condition that may benefit from a different plan?
- Are you paying too much for premiums, and is there a less expensive option with similar coverage?
- Is your plan’s deductible too high?
- Is there a better Part D drug plan that will cover your prescriptions?
- If you find a better plan, will it be covered by your doctor?
Visit Medicare.gov or use the Medicare Plan Finder to get more information and compare plans available for you.
What Are the Important Medical Open Enrollment Deadlines?
Choosing the best plan to meet your needs is a priority for keeping your health and your bills in check all year long—so don’t miss out on your chance! Here are some important open enrollment deadlines to keep on your calendar:
- Initial enrollment: When you first become eligible for Medicare at the age of 65
When? From three months before your 65th birthday month to three months after that birthday
- Medicare open enrollment: The annual period when you can make changes to your Medicare coverage.
When? October 15 to December 7
- Medicare Advantage open enrollment: The annual period when you can either change Medicare Advantage plans or move to Original Medicare.
When? January 1 to March 31
What Plan Changes Can I Make During Medicare Open Enrollment
if you’re already enrolled in Medicare coverage but want to find a plan that suits you better, there are a few changes you can make during the enrollment period, including:
- Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to a new plan: When you find a new plan you’d like to switch to, simply call your provider to make the change.
- Switch from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage: If you’re already enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B, and the Medicare Advantage plan is offered in your area, you can make the switch. Keep in mind that Medicare Advantage plans typically cover your prescription drugs. That means if you signed up for Medicare Part D to cover your medications, you may no longer need that coverage. In this case, simply call your insurance provider and ask to be dropped from part D coverage, since you’ll get it through Medicare Advantage.
- Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare: If a Medicare Advantage plan isn’t working for you, contact your insurer to replace it with Original Medicare. Remember, you’ll be losing your part D prescription drug coverage. If you make this switch, you’ll have to also enroll in part D in order to have your medications covered, which will add to your monthly premium.Keep in mind that the dates for switching from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare are January 1 to March 31 each year.
- Enroll in a Medicare Part D plan: If you didn’t enroll for prescription drug coverage when you were first eligible for Medicare, you can do so during open enrollment. Keep in mind that if you haven’t maintained other creditable coverage, you may face a late-enrollment penalty.
Medicare Changes for 2023
There will be several new changes for Medicare enrollees in 2023. Here’s what changed in 2022:
- The monthly premium, deductible, and coinsurance for part A are expected to slightly increase in 2023. However, those same costs for part B are expected to stay the same.
- The Inflation Reduction Act will cap the cost of insulin at $35 per month in 2023. If you carry part D coverage, you will no longer have to pay for recommended vaccines.
- Monthly premiums for part D are expected to slightly decrease in 2023.
- If you hold a Medicare Advantage plan, the maximum amount of out-of-pocket costs you’ll pay (not including prescription drugs) will increase to $8,300 for in-network costs. However, most plans will continue to have a maximum amount well below $8,300.
Need More Help Finding Insurance?
Shopping for the right health insurance plan that’s tailored to your unique healthcare needs can feel stressful—but we’re here to make it quick and easy. That’s why we’re proud to offer free online insurance quotes that offer the best possible rates around. Plus, with our lightning-quick process, you can enroll in comprehensive, affordable coverage in just a matter of minutes. Get yours right now, and enjoy the peace of mind that your health care coverage is comprehensive and affordable.