Medicare Annual Enrollment Period: How to Choose the Right Insurance Plan

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) runs every year from October 15 to December 7.
During this time, it’s a good idea to review your current Medicare plan other options to make
sure you have the right plan for your healthcare needs.

What to do During Annual Enrollment Period

During Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period, you can enroll in a plan if you’re new to Medicare.
If you currently have a Medicare plan, AEP is your chance to change plans to ensure you are
getting the most from your Medicare coverage.

During AEP, you can:

  • Review your current plan’s changes for 2023
  • Enroll in or switch Medicare Advantage Plans
  • Enroll in or switch Part D prescription drug plans
  • Change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage
  • Drop your current Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plan and return to
  • Original Medicare

Why Reviewing Your Medicare Plan Is Important

Whether you’re enrolled in Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage and/or a Medicare Part D
prescription drug plan, it’s always a good idea to review your Medicare coverage options during
AEP. Here’s why:

Ensure your coverage meets your healthcare needs. You may want to switch plans if
your current plan will change in costs and coverage (e.g., deductible, premium, copays)
or if your health needs or budget have changed. Reviewing your current coverage and
comparing it to other plans gives you the opportunity to get the coverage you need.

  • Be sure you can continue to see your preferred provider(s). Medicare Advantage plans typically limit you to a specific network of providers. If your current provider or preferred hospital is no longer in-network with your Advantage plan, you may want to switch to a plan that is in-network with your preferred providers. You can also switch to Original Medicare, which allows you to see any healthcare provider or go to any hospital or facility that accepts Medicare.
  • Make sure your medications are covered. You should have received your current Medicare plan’s Notice of Change by the end of September. The notice includes a list of covered prescription drugs. If your current plan will no longer cover one or more of your prescriptions or the costs of your prescription copays are increasing, you may want to change to a different Part D prescription drug coverage plan that covers all of your prescriptions and offers lower copays.
  • Better manage your out-of-pocket expenses. Exploring your Medicare coverage options may help you save money by switching to a zero-premium Medicare Advantage plan or opting for a Medicare Supplemental plan that offers flexibility in covering your out-of- pocket expenses, including copays, coinsurance and deductibles.
  • Ensure you get the benefits you need. Original Medicare covers most medically necessary services and supplies, but does not cover additional benefits, such as dental and eye exams. Medicare Advantage plans cover all medically necessary services and may also offer extra benefits, such as vision, hearing and dental services.

Even if you like your current plan, it can still be helpful to review the plan’s changes for the
upcoming year and compare it to other plans to determine if your current plan will continue to
work for you.

How to Prepare for AEP

Preparing ahead of time can help take the stress out of AEP. The following steps can help you
get ready for the 2023 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period:

  • Review your current plan. Make sure you’re aware of any copay or premium changes as
    well as changes to your network of providers and prescription coverage.
  • Consider your healthcare needs. While nobody can predict the future, it’s important to
    ensure your known and potential health care needs are covered. This may include
    planned surgeries or screening tests, travel plans (in the event you need healthcare
    when you’re away), any existing diagnoses you have, and ‘extras’ you may need
    coverage for, such as vision or dental benefits.
  • List the elements you need coverage for. This includes doctors, specialists, medical
    equipment and prescription medications. As you compare plans, make sure the plans
    you are considering cover all of your healthcare needs.

Important AEP Dates

  • Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP): October 15 – December 7. Coverage changes you make during this period will be effective as of January 1, 2023.
  • Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period: January 1 – March 31. Coverage begins the first day of the month after you join a plan.
  • Special Enrollment Period. In certain situations, you may be able to switch or leave a plan outside of the enrollment periods. For example, moving out of your current plan’s service area or moving to or from a long-term care or skilled nursing facility may make you eligible for special enrollment.

Need Help with Medicare AEP?

Around this time every year, you may have noticed that TV commercial breaks are full of ads
from celebrity spokespeople promoting private Medicare Advantage plans. Don’t be swayed —
celebrities are paid to make these Medicare plans sound like the “Holy Grail” of healthcare
coverage, but it’s possible the plan may not work for you.

To avoid overwhelm and get trustworthy assistance, you may want to consider working with a
licensed Medicare insurance consultant. For free health coverage counseling, visit the Medicare
Access Center at our Apopka location. Knowledgeable staff are here to help you understand
your Medicare options so you can make the best decision for your healthcare needs. If you
can’t get to our Apopka location before AEP is over, call us at 407-703-9990 to speak with our

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