You Missed the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period, Now What?

September 09, 2022

Don’t worry, you still have options.

If you are eligible for the federal Medicare program, the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) allows you the opportunity each year to enroll in a new plan or switch plans. The Annual Enrollment Period runs from October 15th to December 7th and allows 7 weeks for you to compare plans and make an informed decision about your Medicare coverage.

If you are happy with your current Medicare plan, then you don’t need to take any action. Your plan will renew on January 1st of the following year. Since private insurance companies may change their plan benefits each year, it is a good idea to review your current Medicare plan to make sure the plan benefits still fit your needs.

But what happens if you missed the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period and want to change your plan?

If you miss the initial enrollment period and want to change your Medicare Advantage Plan or your prescription drug coverage, you have a couple of options—the Medicare Open Enrollment Period (OEP) or a Special Enrollment Period (SEP).


Medicare Open Enrollment for Medicare Advantage Plans

Open Enrollment, which runs every year from January 1st to March 31st, is for those enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

During this time, those with a Medicare Advantage plan have a one-time opportunity to either switch to a different Medicare Advantage plan or go back to Original Medicare and sign up for a standalone Part D Prescription drug plan. Coverage begins the 1st of the month after enrollment. For example, if you enrolled in a new Medicare Advantage plan on Feb 2nd, your new plan would take effect March 1st. This is a one-time change opportunity to help those who are unhappy with the plan they selected during Medicare’s Annual Enrollment or their health and financial situations have changed and their current plan no longer fits their needs.

Special Enrollment Period

In certain situations, you may be able to join, switch, or drop a Medicare Advantage Plan or Part D Prescription Drug Plan at other times during the year if you are eligible for a Special Enrollment Period.

Some of these situations include:

  • You move out of your plan’s service area
  • You have both Medicare and Medicaid
  • You qualify for Extra Help (Medicare’s Part D low-income subsidy)
  • You live in an institution such as a nursing home
  • You lose your employer coverage

If you miss the Medicare Annual Enrollment Period and the Open Enrollment Period and you do not qualify for a Special Enrollment Period, you may have to wait until the following year to enroll in a new plan.

Talk to a Brooks, Todd & McNeil Medicare Specialist

To help you better understand your options and when to make changes to your current coverage, call our Medicare Division at 860-379-2885 or email for an appointment. It is always best to review your coverages before the open enrollment period. Our specialist can help you determine things like whether your Medicare prescription drug plan is adequate and if you should consider selecting a different plan. But if you do miss the open enrollment period, our specialist can help determine what options may be available to you. Health care needs change over time, and our dedicated team can make sure you have the coverage that is best suited for your needs now and as those needs change in the future.