Two Medicare Enrollment Periods for 2020 Benefits

November 19, 2019

Happy with your Medicare benefits? Not interested in making changes for 2020? Great! You don’t have to do a thing.

However, if you’re ready to make a change, there are two Medicare enrollment periods — one of which is now in full swing. The fall enrollment period runs from Oct. 15, 2019, to Dec. 7, 2019, with policies effective Jan. 1, 2020. The winter enrollment period runs from Jan. 1, 2020, to March 31, 2020, with policies effective the first day of the month following an application.

The difference between the two enrollment periods is that the fall enrollment is for any Medicare beneficiary enrolled in Parts A and B. The winter enrollment is for beneficiaries new to Medicare Part B and at least 65 years old.

If you decide to do some research on your own, keep in mind that there are a variety of names used for the two enrollment periods — sometimes the same name for both.

Enrollment Period: Oct. 15 to Dec. 7, 2019. Medicare’s Name: Open Enrollment Period for Medicare Advantage and Medicare prescription drug coverage. Other Names: Medicare Open Enrollment; Annual Election Period; Annual Enrollment Period

Medicare Supplement plans do have rate increases annually, which will happen on your policy anniversary date. If you already have Parts A or B, your insurance provider should have already sent you the “Annual Notice of Change” letter. It informs you of any changes to your plan such as premiums, copays, pharmacy networks and drug formularies.

During Enrollment You Can:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan or vice versa.

  • Choose a different Medicare Advantage plan.

  • Switch from a Medicare Advantage Plan that doesn’t offer drug coverage to a Medicare Advantage Plan that offers drug coverage (Part D) or vice versa.

  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

  • Switch from one Medicare drug plan to another Medicare drug plan.

  • Drop your Medicare prescription drug coverage completely.

Why You Might Want to Make a Change:

  • Premiums for your plan will be significantly higher. Since Medicare supplement policy benefits are standardized, the only thing different between carriers and plans is the amount they charge you in monthly premiums.

  • With Medicare Advantage policies, premiums may be higher but you may also wish to choose different benefits since benefits are not standardized.

  • Your doctor is no longer in your Medicare Advantage plan network.

  • Your medications are no longer covered.


What You Can’t Do:

  • Enroll in Part B without a qualifying medical event. A qualifying event is marriage, adoption, divorce or someone on the plan dies.

  • Apply for Medicare Advantage Plans that are not in your geographic region.

  • Make changes between your Medicare plans without answering medical questions.


Enrollment Period: Jan. 1–March 31, 2020. Medicare’s Name: Medicare Advantage Open Enrollment Period. Other Names: Medicare Supplement Open Enrollment Period; Medicare Annual Enrollment Period; General Enrollment Period


During Enrollment You Can:

  • If you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage), you can switch to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage).

  • You can leave your Medicare Advantage Plan and return to Original Medicare. If you do this, you’ll be able to join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan.

  • If you enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan during your Initial Enrollment Period, you can change to another Medicare Advantage Plan (with or without drug coverage) or go back to Original Medicare (with or without drug coverage) within the first three months that you have Medicare.

  • Medicare beneficiaries can sign up for Part A and/or Part B if the following are applicable: you did not sign up when you were first eligible and you aren’t eligible for a Special Enrollment Period. After premiums are paid, your coverage will start July 1.

What You Can’t Do:

  • Change from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan.

  • Join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan if you’re in Original Medicare.

  • Switch from one Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to another if you’re in Original Medicare.

For help with your Medicare plan, please contact us