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Your Guide to Medicare Annual Enrollment

Oct 1, 2023

With Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) beginning October 15, it’s time to review your insurance options. Through December 7, Medicare beneficiaries can change their Medicare health coverage to better fit their needs. This could mean switching from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another, changing from Original Medicare to a Medical Advantage Plan, or another option. Whatever your case may be, this guide will help you better understand the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period and what decisions you can make during AEP.

What can people do during Medicare Annual Enrollment Period?


During the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period you can:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Change from a Medicare Advantage Plan back to Original Medicare.
  • Switch from one Medicare Advantage Plan to another Medicare Advantage Plan.
  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan (Part D).
  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.
  • Drop your Medicare Prescription Drug coverage.

If you decide to make any of these changes during Medicare Annual Enrollment, they will go into effect on January 1 of the following year.

How to prepare for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period


In preparation for the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period you should review your current health and prescription drug coverage. Ask yourself, “Does my current coverage meet my medical needs?” If it doesn’t, AEP is your chance to change your Medicare health plan and prescription drug coverage. In addition, analyze the current cost of your plan. Are you content with the price? If not, you can compare your plans with others. You can use the Medicare.gov plan finder tool or set up time with a local insurance agent to review your options.

You may want to consider switching plans if you want to change your insurance company, need a plan with more benefits, or you want to see a provider that doesn’t accept your current plan.  

Common mistakes to avoid during the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period

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When it comes to Medicare, there are many common mistakes that new enrollees can make. Common mistakes include choosing a plan that doesn’t meet your health needs, selecting a plan your provider doesn’t accept, or missing important deadlines. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid, according to AARP:

  • Missing the enrollment period.
  • Misunderstanding your job’s insurance coverage. It’s important to sign up for Medicare if your job’s insurance becomes your secondary coverage. If your job’s insurance is considered primary, then Medicare will become your secondary coverage. To find out if your insurance is primary or secondary, you can contact your benefits manager or 800-MEDICARE.
  • Ignoring late enrollment penalties. For instance, for every 12 months you delay signing up for a Part D plan, your monthly premium may be one percent higher.
  • Not fully weighing your Medicare options.
  • Picking a plan that doesn’t fully and affordably cover your prescriptions, does not include your health care providers, or does not meet your needs fully.
  • Assuming you can’t afford Medicare. There are certain programs where you may be able to get assistance with your health costs. Learn more at shiptacenter.org and ssa.gov.

How can One Medical Seniors help?

Whatever your situation, the Patient Enrollment team at One Medical Seniors is here to help. We understand that AEP can be confusing, and if you have insurance questions, we’re happy to refer you to someone who can help. If you aren’t already a One Medical Seniors patient, now is the time to make sure your Medicare plan gives you access to a primary care provider who understands your needs.

To learn more, call 855-977-0652 or fill out this form to speak with a Patient Enrollment coordinator.

This article was originally published on October 6, 2020.

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