What is Medicare Fall Open Enrollment?

Fall Open Enrollment occurs each year from October 15 to December 7. During Fall Open Enrollment, people with Medicare can make changes to their existing Medicare coverage. While you can make as many changes as you want to your Medicare coverage during Fall Open Enrollment, the last change you make during this time will take effect on January 1, 2014. To avoid enrollment problems, it’s best to call 800-MEDICARE when making any changes to your Medicare health and/or drug coverage.
During Fall Open Enrollment, people with Medicare can make the following changes:

  • Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • Join a Medicare prescription drug plan (Part D plan) for the first time
  • Switch from one Medicare prescription drug plan to another Medicare prescription drug plan

Keep in mind that your Medicare benefits may change from year to year. Before making changes to your Medicare coverage during Fall Open Enrollment, you should review your current health and drug coverage to see whether your benefits and costs will change in 2014.

If you get your Medicare benefits through Original Medicare, the traditional Medicare program run directly by the federal government, you should take a look at the 2014 Medicare & You handbook. In mid to late September, this handbook is mailed to everyone who has Medicare and includes a summary of Original Medicare benefits and costs in 2014. If you have not received the Medicare & You handbook, you can download the handbook online at www.medicare.gov or call 800-MEDICARE and ask that a copy be mailed to you.

If you have a Medicare Advantage plan or a Part D plan, you should receive a notice in the mail called an Annual Notice of Change orEvidence of Coverage. Plans are required to send these notices to plan members by September 30 of each year. Take a look at these notices to see if there will be any changes made to your Medicare coverage in 2014. Remember, it’s best to make sure that the health care services you need and the drugs you take will be covered by your plan in the upcoming year.

If there aren’t any changes and you’re satisfied with your Medicare coverage, you don’t need to make any changes during this time. However, if there will be changes to your health and drug coverage in 2014, or if you’re unsatisfied with your current coverage, you have the right to make changes during Fall Open Enrollment. Click here for a helpful Medicare Interactive web page that goes over a few things you need to know about Fall Open Enrollment.

This information is republished with permission from the Medicare Rights Center. For more info visit www.medicarerights.org.