It’s Medicare Annual Open Enrollment. Here’s what you need to know.

It’s Medicare Annual Open Enrollment. Here’s what you need to know.

Enrolling and understanding Medicare coverage may seem like a stressful task.

Jeanet Reyes-Cordero, the director of Medicare solutions at Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care, breaks down Medicare Annual Open Enrollment into five key areas.

1. What is Medicare Annual Open Enrollment?

The Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Period, also referred to as the Annual Election Period (AEP), runs from October 15 to December 7 each year. Individuals who are already enrolled in Medicare can make several changes to their coverage during this time. Changes made during AEP take effect Jan. 1 of the following year.

2. What changes can you make during AEP?

During AEP, a beneficiary can do the following:

  • Switch Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C).
  • Switch from Original Medicare (Part A & B) to Medicare Advantage (Part C).
  • Switch from Medicare Advantage (Part C) back to Original Medicare.
  • Change Medicare prescription drug plans (Part D).
  • Enroll in or opt out of Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) coverage entirely.

3. What is the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC)?

The Annual Notice of Change letters are mailed to individuals no later than September 30 if they have a current Medicare Advantage plan (Part C) or prescription drug (Part D) plan.

“This notice will inform you what is changing in your current plan for the following year. Typically, the cover letter in the packet provides a summary list of changes comparing the current year’s benefits to following year’s benefits,” Reyes-Cordero says.

4. How do you know if you need to change plans?

Review and Adjust Coverage: Even if you don’t want to make major changes, it’s a good time to review your current plan, premiums, coverage, and drug formularies as they can change from year to year.

There may be several reasons to evaluate changing your plan during AEP such as:

  • Your monthly plan premium cost is going up.
  • Your co-pays are significantly increasing.
  • You find a plan with greater benefits and/or lower annual maximum out of pocket costs.
  • Your doctors and/or preferred hospital are no longer in your plan’s network.
  • Your preferred pharmacies are no longer in network.
  • One of your more expensive prescription medications will no longer be covered by your plan.

It’s essential to review your health care needs and the changes in plan offerings carefully during the AEP to ensure you have the most suitable coverage for the upcoming year.

“If the changes seem minor to you, then most likely, you won’t need to do anything at all,” says Reyes-Cordero.

5. What are available Medicare resources?

  • To learn more about your fall Medicare open enrollment options and 2024 Medicare updates, register for a live educational webinar presented by a state certified SHIP counselor.
  • For more information on Medicare resources and related services in your area:
    • Contact our Medicare Solutions Team at 855-908-7910 to speak with one of our IL or WI SHIP certified Medicare counselors.
    • You can also email questions to the team at
  • For additional information and resources, visit our Medicare resources website.

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About the Author

health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.