Skip to Content


Medicare’s Open Enrollment is the time of year when you can make changes to your Medicare coverage. This period runs from October 15 through December 7, and any changes you make will take effect on January 1. You may also hear the Open Enrollment Period called the Annual Election Period.

First, let’s review the types of changes you can make during Open Enrollment.

During Open Enrollment, you can make certain changes to your health insurance coverage, including adding, dropping, or changing your Medicare Advantage and Part D coverage. You can make as many changes as you want during this period, but only your last coverage choice will take effect in January. The changes you can make include joining a new Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D prescription drug plan, switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan, and switching from a Medicare Advantage Plan to Original Medicare.

If you are switching to Original Medicare, note that you may have limited options for purchasing a Medigap policy to help with your out-of-pocket costs. The same is true if you switch from Original Medicare with a Medigap policy to a Medicare Advantage Plan. You cannot have both a Medigap policy and a Medicare Advantage Plan. If you later want to return to Original Medicare, you may have limited options for purchasing a Medigap policy to help with your out-of-pocket costs. Medigap purchasing rules can vary by state, so contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) to ask about state-specific Medigap rights.

Before making a decision about your 2024 coverage, consider the Medicare health and drug plan options in your area. You may be able to receive the same or better health or drug coverage at a more affordable price. For example, even if you are satisfied with your current Medicare Advantage or Part D plan, you should check to see if there is another plan in your area that offers the same health or drug coverage at a better price.  

Use Open Enrollment to review your current Medicare health and drug coverage. 

You receive a lot of mail during Open Enrollment, so it is important to know which mailings include information about your current coverage. No matter how you receive your Medicare coverage, you should consider your access to health care providers and pharmacies you want to use, your access to benefits and services you need, and the total costs for insurance premiums, deductibles, and cost-sharing amounts.

If you have Original Medicare, visit or read the 2024 Medicare & You handbook to learn about Original Medicare benefits for 2024. 

If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan or a stand-alone Part D plan, read your plan’s Annual Notice of Change, or ANOC, and Evidence of Coverage, or EOC. These notices list any changes for your plan in 2024. Pay special attention to any changes in the plan’s costs, the plan’s benefits and coverage rules, and the plan’s formulary. The formulary is the list of drugs your plan covers. Make sure that your drugs will still be covered next year and that your providers and pharmacies are still in the plan’s network. If you are unhappy with any of your plan’s changes, you can change plans.

For help reviewing changes to your plan and comparing other coverage options, contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Find your SHIP by using our online SHIP Locator or by calling 877-839-2675 (and say “Medicare” when prompted) to find your local SHIP.

Finally, know how to make changes to your Medicare health and drug coverage.  

You can use services provided by the government to make Medicare coverage changes. Call 1-800-MEDICARE to make changes by phone or visit to compare options and enroll in some plans online. You can also contact plans directly to learn about the services they cover or to enroll. Confirm everything that a plan tells you before making a final decision and get everything in writing. Before joining, call your doctors to make sure that they are in the provider network for the plan you want to join. If you want one-on-one help reviewing your options or making changes, contact your SHIP. SHIPs are funded by the government to provide trusted, unbiased Medicare counseling.   

Still have questions?   

Your SHIP is here for you! You can contact your SHIP for any other Medicare-related questions or concerns you have. SHIP counselors are government-funded to provide trusted, unbiased Medicare counseling at no cost to you. (Depending on your state, your SHIP may go by another name.) Use our online SHIP Locator or call 877-839-2675 (and say “Medicare” when prompted) to find your local SHIP.

Supplemental Handout

Explore more blogs: