Change Your Plan During Medicare AEP

Medicare Benefits Solutions
Sep 4, 2021

The Annual Election Period (AEP) is the time when many people review their Medicare coverage and decide to switch to a new Medicare Advantage plan.

During AEP, Medicare recipients can also:

  • Drop Original Medicare and enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan
  • Switch Prescription Drug Plans
  • or even drop their MA plan and revert to Original Medicare, and enroll in a PDP at this time.

In this article, we look at some key facts about AEP and what you can do.

What is the Medicare Annual Election Period?

The Annual Election Period takes place between October 15th and December 7th each year. This is when those eligible for Medicare can make changes to their coverage, including enrolling in a new Medicare Advantage Plan – with or without prescription drug coverage.

Before AEP begins, Medicare Advantage enrollees receive an ANOC, or Annual Notice of Change. The ANOC is a document that tells you about any upcoming changes to your plan, which may help you make important decisions about any changes you might like to make to your existing coverage.

TIP: Get more of your Medicare-related questions answered when you sign up for our newsletter.

Find a new Medicare plan

Get recommendations based on what's important to you, and compare them to your existing plan.

What’s Covered by Medicare Supplement?

The coverage offered by the different Medigap plans varies – and it can change each year. In general terms, you can expect Part A coinsurance and hospital costs to be covered for up to 365 days after your Original Medicare benefits are used up. Many plans sold before January 1 2020 also covered the Part B deductible, but this is no longer the case.

It’s particularly important to note the things Medicare Supplement doesn’t cover. Long-term care expenses aren’t included, nor is dental care. Also excluded are eyeglasses, hearing aids and private-duty nursing. In addition, some states have a Medicare waiver, meaning private health insurance companies aren’t obliged to offer any Medigap plans within those states.

Which Medicare Plan is Right for You?

Generally speaking, most people opt for one of two options: stick with Original Medicare, or enroll in Medicare Advantage. Those choosing the latter option often find a plan that includes prescription drug coverage (also known as Part D). In cases where your MA plan does not include drug coverage, like in a PFFS or MSA plan, you may be able to enroll in a Prescription Drug Plan separately.

You have many options available during AEP. Which route you choose to take can depend on various factors. You might want to start by reviewing your current coverage and comparing other plans available in your area.

TIP: Plan finder can help you compare Medicare plans available in your area.

What if You Defer or Delay Enrolling in Medicare?

Ideally, you should enroll in Medicare Part A, Part B, and Part D as soon as you’re eligible – or you may face penalties for delaying. You can be penalized for not having creditable prescription drug coverage for a continuous period of 63 days or more after your Initial Enrollment Period.

TIP: Don’t switch plans until you’ve had a chance to view our handy Medicare checklist.

Need Help with Your Medicare Special Enrollment Period?

Use our online plan finder and comparison tool to find the Medicare Advantage plan for you, or call a dedicated, fully licensed sales agent at 877-882-1927 or TTY 711 with any questions.

Got questions?

Call a licensed sales agent at

877-406-1753 or TTY 771

Mon – Fri 5am – 6pm PT | Sat 5am – 5pm PT | Sunday   Closed

Send us a message

We aim to reply within 24 hours.

    Medicare Benefits Solutions is a non-government website. This is a solicitation for insurance. By submitting information on this site, I am providing my written consent for Medicare Benefits Solutions, herein after referred to as “Medicare Benefits”, which is a brand operated by HealthCompare Insurance Services Inc., its sales agents, or affiliates to contact me (even if I’m on a state or national do not call registry) at the phone number or email address listed to provide me with quotes or information about Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement, and Medicare Part D plans. I further consent to such calls or texts sent via autodialer, automated technology, prerecorded message and/or artificial voice. I understand my consent is not a condition of purchase and that I can revoke my consent at any time via Additional charges may apply to SMS, call, or Internet usage depending on your data providers.

    Find a plan

    Get plan recommendations

    Compare your current Medicare plan to our recommendations – then choose the plan that gives you more of the things you want.

    Find a new Medicare plan

    Click here to find out more

    Get a plan recommendation based on what's important to you.