What Is Medicare Open Enrollment?

By Chris Duderstadt

October 9, 2023

What Is Medicare Open Enrollment?

Key Points – What Is Medicare Open Enrollment?

  • Medicare Open Enrollment Defined
  • When Is Medicare Open Enrollment?
  • What Changes Can Be Made?
  • How to Take Action During Medicare Open Enrollment
  • 3 Minutes to Read

What You Need to Know About Medicare Open Enrollment

Are you 65 or older and retired? If so, there’s a special event that’s about to start that’s a critical part of the financial planning process that you need to be aware of. We’re talking about Medicare Open Enrollment. We’re going to give you a high-level overview of what Medicare Enrollment is, when it is, who it’s for, and how to action (if necessary).

What Is Medicare Open Enrollment?

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicare Open Enrollment is a time “when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plans and prescription drug coverage for the following year to better meet their needs.” Those health and prescription drug plans can make annual changes, which can be related to coverage, cost, and which pharmacies/providers are available in your network.

When Is Medicare Open Enrollment?

The Medicare Open Enrollment period runs from October 15 through December 7 each year. The opportunities to make changes outside of that timeframe are few and far between. The Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period is from January 1 to March 31. Click here to see the Medicare’s list of life events that qualify for a Special Enrollment Period.

If you downloaded and have been staying up to date with our 2023 Retirement Planning Calendar hopefully it helped remind you of the timeframe for the annual open enrollment period. Obviously, we’re getting close to the end of 2023, but there are still some other important things to note on our 2023 Retirement Planning Calendar for the balance of the year. So, download your copy below and be on the lookout for the 2024 Retirement Planning Calendar as well.

what is medicare open enrollment

2023 Retirement Planning Calendar

Who Is It for?

You become eligible for Medicare at age 65. The Medicare Open Enrollment period is for people who have Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and B), Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C), or a standalone Medicare prescription drug plan (Medicare Part D).

Are You Wanting to Change Plans?

If you want to make changes in coverage during the annual open enrollment period, please take note of what changes you can make. These changes would then take place beginning January 1 of next year.

  • If you have Medicare Part A or B, you can switch to Medicare Part C.
  • If you have Medicare Part C, you can go back to Medicare Part A or B.
  • You can switch from one Medicare Part C plan to another.
  • You can join, change, or drop a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.

Making Sure Your Health Care Needs Are Being Met

The bottom line with Medicare Open Enrollment is that its critical to make any necessary coverage change during this time so that your health care needs are being met. So, as the annual open enrollment period begins, review your current plan and see how it holds up to other Medicare plans. Are you adequately covered or do you need to make changes for next year?

That’s one of the most important questions that you need to be asking yourself throughout the retirement planning process. It’s our goal to make sure that you successfully get to and through retirement with clarity and confidence. That’s why we created our Retirement Plan Checklist. It consists of 30 yes-or-no questions—some of which pertain to health care—and an age-based timeline of key retirement considerations. Make sure to download your copy below!

what is medicare open enrollment

Retirement Plan Checklist

Have Any Questions?

If you have any questions about Medicare Open Enrollment, is an excellent resource. And, of course, our team is ready to answer any questions you have as well. The insurance specialists that we have on staff are a very important component of our team approach to financial planning.

You can ask us any questions related to annual open enrollment or Medicare in general during a 20-minute “ask anything” session or a complimentary consultation with one of our CFP® Professionals by clicking here. We can meet with you in person, by phone, or virtually depending on what works best for you. Until then, as our own Dean Barber always likes to say, “Stay healthy and stay safe” during this Medicare Open Enrollment Period.

Resources Mentioned in This Article


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Investment advisory services offered through Modern Wealth Management, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser.

The views expressed represent the opinion of Modern Wealth Management an SEC Registered Investment Adviser. Information provided is for illustrative purposes only and does not constitute investment, tax, or legal advice. Modern Wealth Management does not accept any liability for the use of the information discussed. Consult with a qualified financial, legal, or tax professional prior to taking any action.