Medicare’s annual Fall Open Enrollment Period occurs from October 15 to December 7. During this time, people with Medicare can make unrestricted changes to their coverage, such as switching Part D prescription drug plans or between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Final coverage updates take effect on January 1.
To allow people to preview their options before the Fall Open Enrollment begins, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently posted benefit and cost-sharing information for 2021 Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans on Medicare.gov.
This year, people with Medicare and enrollment counselors will have a lot to wade through, as insurers continue to expand plan offerings. There are also new initiatives taking effect in 2021 that may impact coverage decisions. For example, a new program will offer lower monthly insulin payments for some people with Medicare. It is voluntary for drug plans, so beneficiaries should use the Medicare Plan Finder or contact a drug plan directly to learn if it is participating. At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put many people with Medicare at risk. Public health guidelines will likely restrict in-person enrollment counseling, potentially making it more difficult for people to find the best coverage for their unique circumstances—at a time when they need it most.
These decisions and considerations can be daunting. Here is some tried and true Fall Open Enrollment advice from Medicare Rights:
Visit Medicare.gov to start your plan finder any time between October 15 and December 7.