Each year Medicare open enrollment period begins on November 15 and ends on December 31. During this period, Medicare recipients can make changes to their policies. This is due to the many revisions that occur throughout the year with new laws and costs associated with Medicare benefits. Although the Medicare open enrollment period has ended, there may still be options for those who missed this period.
Medicare does have an open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage that ends on March 31 that can include regular Medicare coverage as well. Additionally, even though this enrollment period ends in March, certain changes in coverage may still be possible throughout the rest of the year.
If an individual did not sign up for Medicare Part B when they initially became eligible, they can still sign up between January 1 and March 31. The Part B coverage will then begin on July 1. During this period, Medicare recipients can also switch plans, but cannot change their prescription drug coverage.
Because prescription drug coverage cannot be changed during general enrollment, individuals who presently have an advantage plan with prescription coverage can switch to another plan that also includes prescription coverage or they can switch to regular Medicare and buy part D.
There are exceptions to the Medicare open enrollment period for certain circumstances that do allow individuals to make changes to their Medicare after March 31. These include individuals who turn 65, those who have been disabled for two years or longer, those who move away from their plan’s area of coverage, those who enter into or leave a nursing home and those who are considered low-income.