When is Medicare Open Enrollment?

During this period each fall, you can select a new Medicare Advantage or Part D plan or switch back to original Medicare.

A sign by a road says open enrollment ahead.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s that time of year again when you have to make important decisions about your Medicare coverage.

Medicare open enrollment runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 each year. During this period, you can switch from original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, or vice versa. You can also choose a new Advantage plan or new Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. Coverage will begin in 2022.

However, if you decide you don’t like your selection, you can make a change during the Medicare’s general enrollment period, which runs from January 1 to March 31 each year. Selections made during this period take effect on July 1.

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During this time, if you didn’t sign up for Medicare when you turned 65 and you don’t qualify for a special enrollment period, you can enroll in Parts A and B. (You can qualify for a special enrollment period for certain life events, such as moving to a new place that isn’t in your current plan’s service area.) Medicare Advantage beneficiaries can also switch to a new Advantage plan or back to original Medicare.

Medicare provides a tool (opens in new tab) to help you compare the costs of different medigap, Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. The tool will tell you the out-of-pocket maximum and what your specific medications would cost for different Medicare Advantage plans while giving you price ranges for medigap plans available in your area. You can also enter details about your specific medications and see what these would cost under your Part D options.

Senior Retirement Editor, Kiplinger.com

Jackie Stewart is the senior retirement editor for Kiplinger.com and the senior editor for Kiplinger's Retirement Report.