Medicare Blog

what is medicare annual enrollment all about

by Alan McClure Published 1 year ago Updated 1 year ago

Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, also known as the Annual Election Period, you can make changes to your current Medicare coverage. The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, or AEP, runs from October 15th to December 7th every year.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period – AEP for short – is a set time each year for changing your Medicare coverage choices if you choose to. AEP runs from October 15 to December 7. New coverage choices go into effect on January 1.

Full Answer

How to prepare for Medicare annual enrollment?

  • Make sure you familiarize yourself with the different parts of Medicare and how they work together. ...
  • Does your loved one have a Medicare Advantage Plan (also known as Part C)? ...
  • If your care recipient has a Medicare Supplemental Insurance policy (also known as Medigap), make sure you pay attention to any premium increases. ...

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How and when you should enroll in Medicare?

Sign up for Parts A and B of Medicare

  • I’m already receiving Social Security retirement benefits. ...
  • I’m signing up during my initial enrollment period , the three months before to the three months after the month you turn 65. ...
  • I’m signing up during a special enrollment period , a time you can enroll in Medicare outside the initial enrollment period when certain conditions are met. ...

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What happens if I miss the Medicare annual enrollment period?

You might face things like:

  • If you don’t enroll in Part B during your IEP, even if it’s just for a few months, then there are some very significant consequences that could be detrimental to ...
  • You won’t have to sign up for Part B coverage at your IEP. ...
  • You would be shocked to find out how much you could save if you were more conscientious with your prescription drug coverage. ...

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When you should enroll in Medicare?

You can start exploring your Medicare options in your early 60s, but you should look more closely as soon as you turn 64. Consider taking the following steps. Meet with your benefits manager , if you’re still working, to discuss health insurance options. Determine your Medicare enrollment window .


What is Medicare annual enrollment?

When's the Medicare Open Enrollment Period? Every year, Medicare's open enrollment period is October 15 - December 7.

What is the difference between Medicare open enrollment and annual enrollment?

Medicare Annual Enrollment is when anyone who has Medicare can make coverage changes for the upcoming year, while Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment is only for people who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Another difference between the two is the timing.

Why is annual enrollment important?

The open enrollment period is important because it is one of the few times you can make changes to many of your employer provided benefits. Open enrollment is usually a few weeks to a few months during the year that allows employees to make changes to their various benefit plans.

Do I have to enroll in Medicare every year?

In general, once you're enrolled in Medicare, you don't need to take action to renew your coverage every year. This is true whether you are in Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan, or a Medicare prescription drug plan.

Whats the difference between OEP and AEP?

AEP stands for Medicare Annual Enrollment Period and OEP stands for Medicare Open Enrollment Period. Depending on the context, OEP can refer to many other Medicare enrollment windows.

What changes are coming to Medicare in 2022?

Changes to Medicare in 2022 include a historic rise in premiums, as well as expanded access to mental health services through telehealth and more affordable options for insulin through prescription drug plans. The average cost of Medicare Advantage plans dropped while access to plans grew.

What is the annual enrollment period?

An annual enrollment period is a set time period each year when people may enroll in a medical insurance plan. Under most circumstances, enrollment is not allowed outside of the annual enrollment period. Not all health plans have annual enrollment periods.

What is the point of open enrollment?

Why do we have an open enrollment period? The open enrollment period was put into place to discourage adverse selection – which happens when sick people sign up for health insurance and healthy people don't. It greatly skews the amount of financial risk a health plan takes when insuring customers.

How old are most Medicare recipients?

ages 65 and oldero The majority (83%) of Medicare beneficiaries are ages 65 and older, while 17 percent are under age 65 and qualify for Medicare because of a permanent disability.

Do seniors have to re enroll for Medicare every year?

In general, once you're enrolled in Medicare, you don't need to take action to renew your coverage every year. This is true whether you are in Original Medicare, a Medicare Advantage plan, or a Medicare prescription drug plan.

Does Medicare automatically renew?

Although there are a few exceptions, Medicare plans generally renew each year automatically. This is true for original Medicare as well as Medicare Advantage, Medigap, and Medicare Part D plans.

Do you automatically get Medicare with Social Security?

You automatically get Medicare because you're getting benefits from Social Security (or the Railroad Retirement Board). Part B covers certain doctors' services, outpatient care, medical supplies, and preventive services.

When does Medicare change plans?

Medicare health and drug plans can make changes each year—things like cost, coverage, and what providers and pharmacies are in their networks. October 15 to December 7 is when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs.

What is an ANOC in Medicare?

People in a Medicare health or prescription drug plan should always review the materials their plans send them, like the “Evidence of Coverage” (EOC) and “Annual Notice of Change” (ANOC). If their plans are changing, they should make sure their plans will still meet their needs for the following year.

What is the Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP)?

The Medicare Annual Election Period (AEP) is when seniors can change their health care coverage.

Difference Between Medicare AEP vs. OEP

The Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) is the time of year when Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their current plan. This enrollment window remains active from October 15 to December 7.

Making Changes After the Medicare AEP

Let’s say you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan and want to switch to Original Medicare, Part A & B. You can easily do so during the Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period (OEP) — from January 1 to March 31 each year.

FAQs Related to AEP

Some of the most common questions related to the Medicare AEP (Annual Enrollment Period), read them below:

When does Medicare start enrolling?

If you enroll in Medicare for the first time at the age of 65, you have an initial enrollment period (IEP) which begins three months before the month of your 65th birthday. This period also includes the entire month of your birthday and extends for three months following your birth month.

When do you get Medicare Part A?

For people who are receiving Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) automatically enrolls you in Original Medicare Part A (hospital insurance), and Part B (medical insurance) three months before your 65th birthday. People who are receiving Social Security (SS) benefits due to a disability and are younger ...

How long do you have to be on Medicare to get SS?

People who are receiving Social Security (SS) benefits due to a disability and are younger than 65 are eligible for Medicare benefits after receiving SS for 24 months consecutively. At that time, the SSA automatically enrolls you in Original Medicare Parts A and B.

How long does an IEP last?

That means your IEP covers a total of seven months. During your IEP, after the SSA has automatically enrolled you in Original Medicare Parts A and B, you can choose to keep Part B or you can opt out if you have primary health care coverage from another provider, such as through your employer.

Key Takeaways

Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period is also known as the Open Enrollment Period.

Original Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage

One popular way for enrollees to use their AEP is to switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, and vice versa. And while you may think you understand what that means, when was the last time you really examined Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage? Do you know the differences between the two, or what’s changed since last AEP?

Know How To Talk To Your Insurance Company

This is something people rarely think about before AEP, but it’s a biggie; learn how to talk to your insurance carrier. It’s so important, we’ve dedicated an entire page to it. Basically, you need to know where to start. Here are some examples:


If you enroll in Medicare when you turn 65, you have a seven-month enrollment period known as your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). This is the time you can enroll without penalty in your Medicare plans.


Original Medicare (Part A and B) Eligibility and Enrollment .

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