Medicare News and Healthcare Updates

What You Need to Know About 2021 Medicare Open Enrollment

by Alli Thomas

Oct 18, 2021

In a few days, the 2021 Medicare open enrollment period will begin.  

It runs from October 15 through December 7. 

During this open enrollment period, you can make as many changes to your coverage as you want. Whatever your election is on December 7 is what will take effect on January 1. 

Your options during open enrollment include:  

  • Switching from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage 
  • Provided you’re enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B AND you live in the Medicare Advantage plan’s area of service 
  • Conversely, switching from Medicare Advantage to original Medicare (as well as Medicare Part D and possibly Medigap) 
  • Switching from your current Medicare Advantage plan to a different one 
  • Switching from your current Medicare Part D plan to a different one 
  • Enrolling in Medicare Part D (if you didn’t when you first became eligible for Medicare) – but if you haven’t maintained other acceptable coverage, you may pay a late enrollment penalty. 

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Here’s what you can’t do during open enrollment:

  • Enroll in a Medigap plan 
  • Enroll in Medicare if you didn’t do so already when you were first eligible. Instead, you can enroll during the Medicare general enrollment period between January 1 and March 31, for which the coverage will take effect on July 1 

Medicare Advantage has its own open enrollment period that runs from January 1 to March 31. Here’s what you will be able to do during this time:

  • Switch from Medicare Advantage to original Medicare (and enroll in Part D) 
  • Switch to from your current Medicare Advantage plan to a different one 

One key difference about Medicare Advantage open enrollment is that you can only make ONE change.  

Note on Part D Plans  

One last thing—many experts recommend investigating different Part D prescription plans every year, instead of just letting your current plan renew. You can use the Part D plan finder tool here.  

Need Help?  

Medicare can be confusing! If you’re trying to figure out the best choice for you, why not get some help?  

To make request no-cost, no-obligation appointment with one of our advisors, click here. 

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Alli Thomas

Alli Thomas has worked in the financial services industry for nearly 20 years, with a focus on retirement-related investing. She began her career as a FINRA-licensed participant-services call-center associate at Vanguard, and then moved to Principal Financial Group, where she worked closely with employers, assisting with retirement plan set-up and design, selecting appropriate plan investment offerings, and maximizing employee participation through targeted education campaigns and enrollment meetings. Alli has also worked as a qualified 401(k) administrator and registered investment advisor for several small investment firms. She now writes about all things investment- and finance-related, leveraging her extensive experience and passion for retirement planning to help investors make well-informed financial decisions.

One Response

  1. Theresa C. Astran says:

    Great! I had no idea that my Financial Planner could also assist me with deciding if my current medicare complete/govt health insurances are still a good fit for me. I will certainly habe a sit down with my FP asap. Thank you.